Why Do College Football Players Wear Suits On Game Days?

Ever seen photos of players traveling to the stadium – or their headshots? They often look good. So why do college football players wear suits?

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Why Do College Football Players Wear Suits On Game Day?

Football players either wear suits because they like to or because they are required to. In some cases, coaches enforce a rule that college football players must wear a suit to game day while others are more relaxed about how they look. The answer depends on school rules.

We’ll discuss some stats we found about how college football players are expected to dress in public and during photo shoots. We’ll also talk about some rules that colleges have for their players.

Let’s first clarify one thing: the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association) does not require that all students wear suits in public. The decision to wear a suit is guided by the school and sometimes even the coach. 

There is a chance though, that your perception that players wearing suits more than normal is a real thing. 

For example, Brent Venabes, who is the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners football team, stated just a couple of years ago that the team is going to get every player on the team a new suit every year. 

The statement did not exactly imply that the player is required to wear the suit in certain situations, but it does come across as helpful to a college student who might not otherwise think about suits or be able to afford one.

The rest of the article is interesting too. More than half the students in the Power 5 conference took headshots while wearing a suit.

About 30% more a jersey from the team, and the other 20 some percent wore a team-issued polo. The mathematical and statistical breakdown looks like this, though this isn’t exactly a scientific study: the teams that wore suits to their photo day tended to win more games.

Are the suits for looks?

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While the above article implies that it is possible that wearing a suit more often – when getting off the bus, for public appearances, and for traveling into the football stadium – might result in more wins, it’s hard to provide.

The reality is that many players want to represent themselves well, and so do their schools and coaches. A young man wearing a suit looks more professional than a person who is wearing a t-shirt and jeans, which can go a long way if you’re a college freshman playing football.

We also have to consider that many players who are in front of very large crowds of college football fans of 60,000 people or more on a daily basis might actually like the attention that a well-tailored suit brings. 

Louisiana State University is the subject of another article about players who like to look good for game day, especially in regards to the walk from the parking lot to the stadium in which there will likely be photographers getting ready to take their picture.

With all of this said, there are probably some schools with an opposite perspective – and require players to wear the same or similar suits to “look like a team.” This is especially true for Army and Navy academies that don’t exactly stress the idea of individuality. 

In many ways, efforts to make players look more “grown up” probably work.

There are many rules and traditions within NCAA football that attempt to mimic the NFL in practice, so asking players to exhibit a level of maturity that includes dressing like a professional doesn’t seem like it is too much to ask.

Do students pay for their own suits?

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Suits aren’t especially cheap. It’s clear from the Oklahoma Sooners coach that they intend to buy suits for their students. 

In the case of Louisiana State University students, it’s somewhat clear the students pay for their own considering how they are going to a high end tailor.

Business mode

Charlie Patridge, a former head coach of the Florida Atlantic Owls, did have a unique rule. He said that a player needed to wear a suit to the game to feel like they were in “business mode.” If the team won, they could wear whatever they wanted on the way home. 

If they lost, they were required to wear the suit home too. While from our perspective, the idea of wearing a suit as punishment doesn’t make much sense, it also doesn’t imply that the players couldn’t wear a suit home after a victory if they wanted to anyway.

Part of the reason for either buying a seat for players or asking them to wear it is to make sure they have a proper suit for their first real job interview. 

Even in the NFL, players are often wearing suits for general interviews – though the “job interview” part of the statement also acknowledges that very few college football players will end up playing in the NFL.

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Key Takeaways

  • Some colleges do require that students wear a suit at least for public performances and for student headshots.
  • Other colleges like Oklahoma State and others give students a free suit every year they are playing in an effort to make their students look good and professional
  • While we explained some statistics indicating that a professionally dressed team tends to win more, that may be the result of skilled players, coaching, and a schedule rather than attributed to wearing a suit.

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