BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana athletic director Fred Glass acknowledged Tuesday that the university spent $130,000 to purchase new, safer helmets for the entire roster of more than 100 players.
“It’s tight on the head like no other helmet and our guys love them,” Glass said. “Our medical staff believes it’s the safest helmet out there.”
The new helmets are one of many changes Hoosiers fans will notice at the home opener Sept. 8 against Virginia.
Indiana will switch out some of the decals on the helmets during the season but will add a sticker to honor the late Bill Mallory, Indiana’s career victory leader who died earlier this year, along with an emblem of the state. But the changing helmets, including the popular chrome-striped ones, will not be used this season. Glass said he anticipating adding a second helmet choice next year.
The Hoosiers’ jerseys also will look different. While the school name will continue to appear on the front of the jersey, players’ names will not appear on the back of the jersey.
It’s a concept that basketball program has used as its model for decades.
“Indiana is about team over self and (coach) Tom Allen is about team over self and this represents that,” Glass said.
Perhaps the most popular change will be the fans’ access to Memorial Stadium. Glass said he’s received assurances from the Indiana Department of Transportation and the governor’s office that four lanes of traffic will be open all the way to Bloomington for all home football and men’s basketball games.
“Our long regional nightmare is over,” Glass said. “We haven’t had a clear run since I’ve been here and I have no doubt that has affected our attendance.”
The Hoosiers also are nearing completion on the interior part of the new excellence academy, which encloses the south end zone that had been open-ended. A 91-foot by 42-foot video board will appear on top of the new facility to go with the recently added 68-foot by 20-foot video board in the north end zone.