Did The Nike Volt Colorways Help Or Hurt Syracuse Lacrosse?

Maryland vs. Syracuse neon volt yellow lacrosse
Count the Cuse guys, quick. Can you see them?

Syracuse came out in orange, white, and the brightest yellow ever against Maryland and some people liked it and some didn’t.  In my opinion, they lost to Maryland because the Terps were better on the day.  But a lot of people are focusing on the “look”, and not the science or even the score… probably because we’re very visually oriented beings.  But (other than the score! 412 has that!) the science is the interesting part, so I’ll just get the look part out of the way immediately.

Maryland vs. Syracuse neon volt yellow lacrosse
Count the Cuse guys, quick. Can you see them?

Amazing Maryland vs Syracuse photo from John Ridley and Lax.com!  Head on over there for a FULL gallery.

I was one of those that thoroughly enjoyed the look, even though yellow figures no where in the ‘Cuse color scheme.  Neon blue may have been 100000x better, but hey, hindsight is 20/20.  Neon blue, 2012, think about it Cuse!

Ok, that was quick.  Now back to the science.  Over on Inside Lacrosse, they go into the full details of what the colorways were supposed to accomplish.

Inside Lacrosse Nike Volt claims

So these colorways make a player MORE visible on the field to their teammates, right?  That’s the claim that’s being made here, isn’t it?  I don’t think I would dispute that.  Watching the game on TV, I could certainly notice the Cuse players!  I had a hard time taking my eyes off them actually, as I was totally surprised by the uniforms at the start of the game, after being away all weekend.

But if their teammates were supposed to notice them more, and I noticed them more, maybe, just maybe, Maryland noticed them more.  If Maryland’s goalie is just barely picking up Jojo Marasco on the backside, wouldn’t painting #22 neon yellow help Maryland as much as it would help Syracuse?  Now I don’t know the answer to this question, but I would think yes.  If one person notices it more, someone else should too.  Not that scientific of me, but it does have me scratching my head in a major way.  Maybe one of our readers will be able to explain it to me.

In a game like lacrosse, familiarity, cooperation and “knowing” what your teammates will do, before they do it, is key.  No look passes are a great example of this.  They are done because a player KNOWS what is happening, without needing to see it.  It’s instinct and belief, not reaction time.  They have done it 1000 times in practice.  Great teams know each other that well.

To me, it seems like one would want a uniform that would allow a player to blend in to the surroundings, rather than stand out.  The defense might lose someone, but the O will KNOW what is going on no matter what, and they will find the open man.  A guy wearing neon doesn’t help me when I’m not looking at you, but it might help the 2 slide pick you up.   Just a thought…  The neon technology could be useful in practice though.  If your O guys are wearing it in practice, it could provide an added challenge to them, or a benefit to the D.

Now to me, a relatively simple person, the same holds true in football.  The quarterback should KNOW where his receiver is.  It’s the defense that should be looking around.  That free safety shouldn’t get the added bonus of a glowing wide open receiverstreaking down the back sideline, should he?  So I’m actually not doubting Nike’s science… I’m just saying it might not have been applied in the best way.

So am I way off base here?  I mean, I LOVE the look.  And I’m not blaming it for Syracuse losing.  It’s nothing like that.  But if the claims that Nike made about it helping teammates are true, could it not also be true that it would help opponent?

Curiouser and Curiouser…



  1. I think it goes on the same principle of goalies using neon mesh to “attract shooters” to shoot at their stick instead of elsewhere.  Does it help? maybe. Does it make a difference? barely.

  2. The difference between a basic hopkins jersey and a maryland jersey or any other type of jersey for that matter is distinctly noticeable. Adding brighter socks and other gear is not going to make a big difference at all. You cant sneak around the crease wearing light blue if you have red defenders all around. Your going to stand out if your the other team. Period. Maryland outplayed Cuse and finished in the end that is all. 

  3. The sports gods helped with this one; Oregon and Syracuse both lost whilst participating in a free marketing gimmick for Nike. It’s so hypocritical for “amateur” athletes to be marketing shills for a company and get new gear for the playoffs and allow companies to make money off of them, but the kids, they do not get a dime from it. The NCAA needs to shut this down. 

    • Well, to the best of my knowledge, the volt unis/socks have not been available for sale. I think LU is getting a limited run of the socks for sale, hardly enough to make money on the stunt.

      Auburn got new UA cleats for their game against Oregon, but since they won and they were understated compared to the Ducks, it is ok?

      Is this a Nike issue or a Cuse issue you have? To say that you want the NCAA to step in and stop a sponsor from supporting an institution during playoffs is ridiculous. They won’t stop a sponsor from supporting a team whether it is a playoff game or a preseason game.

      • They may not be for sale, but it is marketing and we are talking about Nike and their brand. All companies do this, but nike seems to be the worse offenders. Look at the uniforms they make in lacrosse and their “system of dress” with basketball; all the teams have the same basic design of uniforms so you can easily tell those are “Nike” schools and are part of team nike and not the individual school with different uniforms that represent the university’s individuality (under armour does this too). It’s a marketing gimmick and it’s using “amateurs” to sell the brand. It’s painfully obvious and ugly as well. Who were you paying attention to during the game, the team with the neon socks or the team with the normal jerseys? Of course it attracts attention, it’s why road crews wear neon vests, so they can be noticed easily. It leads to indirect sales, in which the company makes money off the athletes (nee slaves) promoting the brand and the kids do not see a dime. Syracuse is a popular and winning team, so people want to use the equipment that they wear. If it didn’t mean more sales, they wouldn’t do it. No one sponsors d3 schools out of the kindness of their hearts, because if they did, the NESCAC would have one sponsor by now.

  4.  It had to be a lot easier for the twerps to keep their little eye on their man when he’s dressed like a crossing guard.  Love “Cuse, hated the look.  

    Would love to see a volt colored ball.    

  5. i think you may be on to something here. maybe nike wants to help the defense…

    better visibility for defensive players of the offense = less points for the o = closer games = no blow-outs = more casual viewers stay tuned-in to the games = more people seeing the swoosh = more $$ for nike

  6. I find it interesting that Coach Desko gave his captions control over this decision. Is he slipping?

    New gear at a time like this can very, very distracting. Take Oregon Football as an example. Sure, they pull stunts like this all the time and they win, BUT they’ve been doing it for years and they weren’t always winning. The loud gear decisions have become engrained in Oregon Football’s culture, thus they are less distracting and always expected. It took time for that to occur. Cuse just got clobbered by the Nike jinx.

  7. I think something can be said about the colored heads, which are very common nowadays.  I specifically remember the Gaits at lacrosse camp telling me they would only use white heads and pockets b/c goalies have a tougher time picking up the ball with no color contrast.

  8. Personally I loved the uniforms and I’m glad you can always count on ‘Cuse to push the envelope with their play and their style: goalie sweatpants, crease dives/air gaits, high socks, offset heads, mesh (for elite players), iroquois topstring etc. How many times has a new fad or movement begun with, or been popularized by, Cuse players?

    It’s rediculous to believe that the uniforms had anything to do with their win or loss. Red is also one of the easiest colors to percieve, specifically for males, and it didn’t hurt maryland. Infact, I’d argue that cuse in their orange jerseys are more perceptable that the white unis with some bright trim.

    Also, blue isn’t even an official school color, just one they adopted. I was doing some research to confirm this and look what I found on Wiki:

    “Orange is the official school color, adopted as such in 1890. Prior to that time, the school’s colors were rose pink and pea green. Orange, blue, and white are traditionally used for athletic uniforms”

    Pink and green uniforms for next year???