Black jerseys kept in the dark; may be auctioned

“Mum” was the word when it came to producing the University of Tennessee’s first black football jerseys in almost 90 years.

“We told them that the key to this whole situation is we wanted to keep this quiet,” said Rock Saraceni, reciting the message he told his employees at S.M. Athletics last week.

There wasn’t much time to keep it quiet. Saraceni said UT equipment manager Roger Frazier inquired about the jerseys last Tuesday.

“He called and asked me on Tuesday if there was a possibility of getting these things done,” Saraceni said Monday on the News Sentinel’s radio show, The Sports Page. “I told him ‘Absolutely.’ ”

UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said he met with two team captains — tailback Montario Hardesty and safety Eric Berry — around lunchtime Wednesday. The players broached the topic of wearing black jerseys for the game against the University of South Carolina on Halloween night.

Saraceni said the order was placed around noon Wednesday.

According to figures provided by Tiffany Carpenter, UT assistant athletic director for public relations, the jerseys cost $7,100. It is unclear what will happen to the jerseys, Carpenter said, but an auction for charity is a possibility.

S.M. Athletics did not have the jerseys in stock and each jersey — made up of 11 panels and three fabrics — was custom made, Saraceni said.

“It’s really miraculous that this all got done,” he said.

S.M. Athletics has been in business since 1976 and has worked with UT since the mid-1980s, mostly on sports other than football. Adidas, UT’s corporate apparel partner, usually uses another manufacturer to produce football jerseys.

Saraceni said his company could have printed names on the jerseys but they were not ordered. Other extras, such as trim or stripes, would have been tough to add in such a tight time frame, he said. Manufacturing pants that were black would have been impossible.

He said the jerseys were picked up around lunchtime Friday.

“We knew that we would get it done by game time if we had to work 24 hours a day,” Saraceni said. “My folks here are very dedicated, and they just absolutely love the University of Tennessee. It was a labor of love, believe me.”

Hamilton said after Saturday’s game that the use of black jerseys was likely a one-time event.

He said he will discuss using black jerseys at the appropriate time with UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who has expressed interest in having his players don black.

Fans voting in a poll on the News Sentinel’s Web site overwhelmingly supported the black jerseys, with 83 percent of more that 15,500 respondents giving them a thumbs up as of Monday evening.

The jerseys also sparked a Facebook page: “Black Tennessee Football Uniforms.”

Still, it didn’t play well with some hard-line traditionalists:

“I hate the BLACK JERSEYS!!” wrote Carson Barger in a News Sentinel letter to the editor. “I would like to see the person responsible for this idiocy tared (sic) and feathered. I know it was Halloween and all that but Our colors are ORANGE AND WHITE. … I will never attend another game if this moronic activity is allowed to continue.”

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Comments » 110

andy112382#209793 writes:

Wow, never knew I would see so much written about our clothing options, but beats the heck out of what we were having to read about last season! GO VOLS!!!

FWBVol writes:

I don't like the black jerseys either, but I think Mr. Barger needs to chill a little. If you love the team sometimes you tolerate a few things.

VolFan1012 writes:

What an arrogant comment. I say let the old man NEVER return to another game from the guy at the end. I will gladly take his tickets.


It was obviously a rare occasion, and it pumped up the team. Most every team has a third (alternate) jersey for special occasions. Do you have a problem with the baseball team having black jerseys? Or what about the light blue trim on the Lady Vols? Get over yourself dude!!! GBO!!

VolFan1012 writes:

Hey FWBVol, does the FWB stand for Ft Walton Beach by chance???

all_vols writes:

Mr.Barger is the MORON!!! Same team...different flavor. GO BIG ORANGE!!!

Laydbakvol writes:

Whoa Carson! Sit down and take a deep breath. Everything's going to be ok. Why don't you just sit down here and try to relax. I'll go get you a glass of water and your heart medicine.

Slimjim_Vols writes:

Man if all it takes is to do something that the players want to do, to make fans jump off the bandwagon, I say let em jump! I understand that this fan has probably been thru alot with this team as we all have, but some need to realize that it is a new day on the hill!

No matter if we wear black every once in a while, or the orange and white that we all love, it is still the VOLS! The same Rocky Top, the same Neyland Stadium, the only difference is that the players inquries are being addressed and the staff and AD are not only trying to be open for the fan base, but also the players. Imagine what the recruits were thinking when we all found out the Berry and Hardesty were the ones who went and asked for the jerseys! I bet recruits are not only thinking that not only will they be in a program on the fast track back up, but also their opinions will be heard!

This is 2009, not 1959! If you cannot hang with a lil "Street Cred", Black jerseys on Halloween, or a lil jab at the other coaches, then you need to get the F outta "Laneville!"

I enjoy the fact that I as a 24 year old can relate more to the team, and can also relate to the coach better! I love that there are new ideas coming in along with the same traditions we all love!

Don't get me wrong, when CPF was fired i was mixed in emotions. I thought it was time for a change on one hand, then on the other honestly wondered if the VOLS could turn it around like they did from 05 to 06. I was in favor of CLK and was very excited when I found out that he was the choice!

Fact of the matter is, the VOLS will always be the VOLS! Neyland will always be Neyland, and Rocky Top will always make any true VOLS fan blood begin to pulsate when played! But to say you will never go to a game again because of a jersey change, the to hell with ya..... I'm proud to be a VOL whether it be football all the way to sychronized swimming! If there is the pms151 orange (which is the color code if you wanna paint ur house TENNESSEE ORANGE) on the athlete and a POWER T anywhere on them, thats when ITS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL! I have moved to NC and no matter the fan, no matter the score, I bleed orange and show it from daylight to dark! Will never switch to the North CaroWHINA High Heels, or any other team, because at the end of the day, Im all VOL, and I said..... ITS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL!

GreerVol22 writes:

Carson, fine by me. I'll gladly take your seats. The only failure here was failure to plan further ahead and get the black pants and orange helmets to go with them.

forever_orange34 writes:

$C&EW barger... Its not his football team. Do us all a favor barger, and go be a Florida fan so you can cry when you dont get your way.

tnvoice#278189 writes:

I thought the black jerseys with orange numerals outlined in white were perfect with the orange pants and white helmet to coordinate with the white stripes on the pants. All you people calling for all black or switch to orange helmets realized that's not the vols, by the way helmets are well over $200 each. The black is not a Tennessee color but is used as an accent on the away jerseys and should be on the orange jerseys as trim for the numbers...

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

I was against it in general but was okay with the idea of doing it for Halloween. As the game went on I got used to it. Its still not something I would like to see very often, but if it makes the players happy then every few years for a big nigbt game I can live with it.

For the record I'm 31.

ArealVolFan writes:

We need to wear the black jersey's more just to get rid of this pathetic breed of fan.

ArealVolFan writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Okay, just an honest question here. I liked the black helmets GA had. I thought the look was pretty solid. But apparently that is not a widely held opinion. I thought the look itself was good though, but my question is: Is there something more sacred about a helmet than a jersey? I mean, I can understand the traditionalist view on not wanting the jersey change, but if you are okay with that...then whats wrong with a helmet change? I personally would have thought an all black(helmet included) would have been a better look. Although, the more and more I see the Black and Orange combo I like it I just think it could be a but better with a black helmet or maybe an orange helmet. Just wondering if there is some bigger deal about helmets v. jerseys though, I don't see one being above IMHO. Just wondering others thoughts on that.

longertimevolfan writes:

Ok. I did not like the black jersey's but I can see the benefits that have come from them and that is CLK keeping the Tennessee Vols name in the face of recruits and for that I could see it becoming tradition for the Saturday games played on Halloween weekends even if Halloween is not on that Saturday.

Ok. I guess I could get to like the black jersery for a new and different look.

BUT! don't change the helmet color! (if you disagree then try to change NDs helmet color from gold to any other color).

Some traditions are not for changing ever and the Vols need to keep this one always.

Yea I am an old f@rt but just in age not in mind.


cdldoc#211897 writes:

This man, Barfer Carton is an idiot!

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

Me say Black Jersey need to be worn 2 home games a year.We need to get rid of the type of fan that didn't want the players and fans to get what they wanted...They seem the the type of fan that thinks Joe-PA is cool and style-in... and like the type of a game ending in a 3-3 tie.
They seem like a real nerd and prob are not a fan of chg either...they seem like the type of fan that likes to always punt beyond the 50 and get turned on to see a punt "instead" of going for it...they are a huge fan of wanting Kiff grow up and just don't understand why he would want to talk and bully Cryer and Sabanard...They are the type of fan that wants Fulmer back and loved last season...In short they are perfectly fine with this world and are excited to be bored!

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

Black Jersey=mean scary Vols

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

If you're a person who shares Carson Bargnard's opinion (is that last name real??), then you need to ask yourself exactly WHY are you watching the UT VOLS play football? Are you watching because you love and support the team...or are you watching because it's just what you've always done. I don't believe for a second that the black jersey's helped UT castrate Spurrier's gameCocks, but if it did...then I suspect that a REAL fan would want UT to wear black uniforms EVERY time we play the SC chickens. If pink leotards and blue afro wigs helps UT win a National Championship...then get those boys fitted tomorrow!

WhitePineVol77 writes:

I loved the jerseys...lets keep them forever. Maybe they were the "change" president Barack Hussein Osama was talking about...LOL

hueypilot writes:

I understand some people in the stands, and not sure if it was 2, 20, 200 or 2,000 got up and left when the team came out. I'd say they would not qualify as in perfect psychological equilbrium, but who am I to judge.

volmaniac1970 writes:


OldNumber7 writes:

Hey Carson Barger, can I have your ticket?

rocky_topper writes:

Carson Barger probably doesn't even go to the games if the truth were really known! Just a Fulmerite running off at the mouth!

87UTVOL writes:

I was there. The black jerseys were great. I saw a lot of people cheer and no one leave.

I've gone to games since I was a kid. I sold cokes in that stadium in middle school. I've been to virtually every home and away game for the past 25 years. There's no one more 'orange' than me.

Our players have played hard all year. They wanted it. It was fun. It's good for recruiting. Thanks to CLK, the coaching staff, SM Athletics and Mike Hamilton for making it happen.

Thanks most of all to the players. If you've been to every game like me, you've seen it. The jumping beans before the 4th quarter at Alabama. Our kids play hard. They have fun. The national media and recruits see it. Tennessee is the place to be. And, if black jerseys every other year or so spice it up a bit, that's great too.

Note, how our team played at Bama apparently swayed one top recruit to commit to Tennessee without even visiting after he saw us on his official visit to ALABAMA for the Tennessee game. Our staff is taking recruits when they visit other schools and see us play. The black jerseys also helped us land a 5 star basketball recruit. He mentioned it when commenting on why he committed to Tennessee.

BIGEJ writes:

Traditions & Change....a mixture of both...some permanent some not. If the change brings about wins and championships so be it...but I remain constant to.......Go Vols.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

Carson Barger seem like he end all his sentences with "bah humbug"

tntorbett writes:

Personally I liked the Black jersey's; I honestly wouldn't mind seeing them used once or twice a year. I'm very aware our colors are orange & white, however while respecting tradition is important, it is O.K. to do something new & different every now & then; actually the younger generation (which I'm talking about the players on our roster & the ones we are trying to recruit) like something fresh & new. Most importantly, the players wanted them; I believe any true Vol fan, Mr Barger, would support them & not call them moronic seeing as it was their request that prompted the diversion from the status quo. According to your statement, you would like to see Eric Berry & Montario Hardesty tarred & feathered ?? And you call yourself a Vol Fan??? Sorry, but I must say I don't believe you are. You're probably one of those bitter people who's still upset Fulmer's gone. If anyone is a moron, Mr. Barger it's you; threatening not to go to another game, do you honestly believe this fan base would miss you; I tell you the answer is an emphatic NO. GO VOLS (black jerseys & all)!!!!!!!!!!

NorthwestVol writes:

TJ, you going to bid on one?

Pdiddy10 writes:

did u hear about floria only suspending brandon spikes for half a game??? that is what I call cheating. I think somebody on this site should complain about this... this is sooo unfair. one quarter. oh my gosh. we had people kicked off of our team for crims maybe a little bigger than this.

ps - where is eric berry in all this mess. i dont think he is playing to his full potential. HEN IS HE GONNA GET A FREAKIN INTERCEPTION?!?!?!?!?!/

plus we need to pull in jeff luc - michael dyer already commmited to auburn but we shouldnt give up! get jeff luc and jaackson jeffcoat


dvols writes:

auctioning off for charity is a great idea, sure some needing organization would get helped!

how much for #14 bidding starts at $5K

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Will always worship orange and white, sportswise, but would accept polka dots if it would lead to a SEC ring.

trivol writes:

That was an exciting game! I loved the cheers when they first put the players up on the Voltron while they were getting ready to run through the T. You cannot experience that at home on the HD...

Pullingguard writes:

Carson Barger the village dunce.. OH, he would be missed at the games, Yea, don't you know.

lambourne writes:

Black was for the kids. If Mr. Barger or others don't care for the clothing choice then I suspect their presence at the UT games will not be missed.

It it time we rid the stadium of people like Barger that haven't a clue that this is a game that relies on emotion and involvement by the fans. I suspect Mr. Barger and others prefer to sit on their hands and long for the looming jogging suit on the sidelines. Those days are gone. Get over it and get on the Lane Train or get out of the way.

The same applies to Doc, Jeff, Heather, Hyams and that yahoo John Pennington. This town has a cast of clowns reporting on this team that feed the mini-minds like Barger.

VolFaninTriCities writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Waldorf writes:

I had wondered where my friend Statler had wondered off to.

smarnold3 writes:

I enjoyed seeing the black jerseys. I am glad it will be a one time thing. Great idea to auction them off and give the money to a worthy cause.

tomharrison4#422401 writes:

Are the editors of this newspaper crazy? You let Lail post a Meg-A-Douche-Bag article about Kiffen last week before me and others complained and was finally removed. Now you are letting idiots like VolFaninTriCities post Carson Barger's address?? Yes, Mr. Carson is an old fuddy duddy, but the discretion, or lack thereof, exercised by your paper is very troubling. Since I am sure this post will be censored, please do the same with the post noted.

UTGreg42 writes:

What a d-bag.... I will watch the VOLS play in Pink because I am a true fan. Mr Barger needs to get a grip and maybe get out of Knoxville.

TommyJack writes:

in response to NorthwestVol:

TJ, you going to bid on one?

Yeah, I bid a dime.

CoverOrange writes:

“I would like to see the person responsible for this idiocy tared (sic) and feathered."

Mr Barger, there is a Mr. Eric Berry here to see you. He wants you to come outside.

TommyJack writes:

Man, you guys aren't much into divergent opinion.

volfan#207874 writes:

Hey, I can live with an occasional variance in the color of the jerseys and pants, but please do not go to black or orange helmets. Back in the days of leather helmets we did wear orange helmets and they "stunk." I will admit that the numbers, as viewed on the "telly" was much easier to read than the white numbers on orange jersys. Give the kids a break! Although college football is big business, it should also be fun for the participants. Yep, I am an old codger (78) and still enjoy watching the Vols...especially when they are having fun and winning. Go Larg Arnj !!!

whiskeyman writes:

Mr. Barger, can I buy your season tickets?

punkin writes:

Mr. Barger, one more letter like that and you will be suspended or fined or possibly both.

Commissioner Mike Slime

vols2#227315 writes:

Sounds like he is too old to go to football games. I bet if he had thought of the black color first, it would be alright.

Kasey writes:

I like the black jerseys. They look better witht he orange pants than an orange jersey. They should keep them.

lemmy999#283948 writes:

I liked them. Much better than the normal ugly white/pale orange.

thedevil writes:

what a monumental waste of money. its no wonder that UT is always cutting back on education.

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