<
>

N'western court design winner not purple

OK, so it's sort of purple. Unfortunately, it isn't all purple. That is a very wise aesthetic decision by Northwestern. It's also a very disappointing one.

As you probably already know, Northwestern was considering a handful of new court designs for the floor update at Evanston, Ill.'s Welsh-Ryan Arena. Three of the choices were standard fare: wood-colored floor, purple trim, a slogan reading "Chicago's Big Ten Team" here and there. They were sane nominations.

Then there was the purple floor, which, had it won, would have immediately become both the ugliest and most recognizable floor in the country. It was not a sane nomination. Oregon's court design would look inconspicuous by comparison.

Alas, the purple court did not prevail. Northwestern polled its Facebook friends, considered the options, ignored the Chicago Tribune's comical suggestions, and ended up choosing the design you see here. It's a nice little update, and it includes that aspirational slogan -- "Chicago's Big Ten Team" -- on the endline. Other than that, it's more facelift than overhaul.

I'll be honest: As much as I made fun of it, I kind of wanted to see the purple court in action. Bummer.

At the very least, this choice reflects Northwestern's branding initiative. It's a difficult one, considering "Chicago's Big Ten Team" currently refers to whatever school the Midwestern Big Ten transplants in question attended. The half-and-half crowds that fill Welsh-Ryan Arena anytime a popular Big Ten program visits can attest to that. But hey, you've got to start somewhere, right?