No one has ever equated Kansas football headgear with death and taxes. Once again, the Jayhawks' helmets will change.
For starters, the "mineshaft" blue headgear that KU football players donned throughout most of the 80s has been replaced by a more royal-like blue.
Also, each side of the helmet will feature "KU" in bold red circus-block letters. In addition, the faceguards will be a matching red.
This marks the first time "KU" has appeared on the Jayhawks' helmets since the early 60s, and the first time in decades that both of the school's primary colors have been used on the headgear.
However, the familiar Jayhawk logo hasn't been abandoned. It will appear on the jersies, which will match the color of the helmets, and the trousers.
LAST YEAR, the KU players wore logo-less "mineshaft" blue helmets with a small Jayhawk stitched on the trousers.
Because of the expense, Kansas changes helmets only on five-year plus intervals. One reason they switched this year is because the Riddell Co. came up with a color coach Glen Mason liked.
"All they had before was either a light Carolina blue or a dark blue (like the Denver Broncos)," Mason said, "and neither went with Kansas. They didn't make a helmet our color, but then they ran a line for us and a guy from Riddell called me and said they were gonna call it Kansas Blue."
When Mason first came to Kansas prior to the 1988 season, he inherited the "mineshaft" blue headgear and decided to add a large Jayhawk logo to it. Last year he went to the logo-less helmet and, in retrospect, he admits, "I didn't like it."
OBVIOUSLY, THOUGH, Mason likes the new style because he picked both the color and the block letters.
"I looked at some other types of letters and these appealed to me more than anything," he said.
KU's freshmen wound up their third day of pad-less work on Wednesday. Many varsity players have already arrived, but the deadline for reporting wasn't until late this afternoon.
On Friday morning, the Jayhawks will participate in a media session, then undergo physical exams in the afternoon. Three days of pad-less drills will begin Saturday.
Those three days, Mason said, will be ". . .really just a refresher, a bridge between spring and the start of fall practice." NOTES
Freshman linebacker Steve Harvey, who hurt a knee in last Saturday's Shrine Bowl and is lost for the season, was scheduled for arthroscopic surgery today. . .
Offensive co-ordinator Golden Pat Ruel plans to erect a tent and live on the practice field for 10 days starting next Tuesday when the Jayhawks don pads for the first time. . .
The Big Eight Skywriters will make their annual appearance here a week from Friday. . .