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Nebraska alternate uniform to respect tradition

OMAHA, Neb. — The trend of wearing new-look team uniforms has arrived at Nebraska.

Athletic director Tom Osborne said Monday he has agreed to allow Adidas AG to come up with an alternate uniform that the Cornhuskers will wear in one home game next season.

The design isn't final, Osborne said, but it will be a bit different from the standard red jersey with white numbers and two white stripes on the sleeves.

"It will be more futuristic, but it won't be outlandish," he said. "It won't be so dramatic that fans won't know what team they're watching."

Osborne said Adidas, the Huskers' apparel and footwear provider since 1995, also proposed changing the color of the helmets.

Osborne initially said that was a no go, and that the white helmet with the iconic red "N'' is not to be messed with.

But Monday afternoon, The Associated Press received an email from his secretary: "Tom did some further checking and he can't say definitively that the helmets will stay white," she wrote.

The Huskers' uniforms have changed little over the decades. There was a mini uproar in 2002 when piping were added to the jerseys — white on the red home jerseys, red on the white road tops. The stripes were gone the next year.

Replica 1962 uniforms were worn against Louisiana-Lafayette in 2009 to commemorate the 300th consecutive home sellout.

Oregon was at the center of the trend, wearing a wide array of outfits designed by home-state sportswear giant Nike Inc. In the Big Ten last year, Michigan State wore pea-green jerseys and pants with gold helmets and Michigan wore stripes over the shoulders and a number beneath the Wolverine helmet logo.

Osborne, who coached the Huskers to 255 wins and three national championships from 1973-1997, said tradition is important to fans. Uniform outfitters like to come up with different looks because it gives them an opportunity to sell more merchandise.

"It does seem to appeal to the student-athletes. Most older fans don't get overly excited about it," he said. "We're walking a fine line because we are traditional, but we also recognize the fact that we don't have to stay the same all the time."