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Gophers unveil new football uniforms for 2018 season

A model displays a new uniform combination for the Gophers football team in the 2018 season. (Courtesy of UMN)1 / 6
A model displays a new uniform combination for the Gophers football team in the 2018 season. (Courtesy of UMN)2 / 6
A model displays a new uniform combination for the Gophers football team in the 2018 season. (Courtesy of UMN)3 / 6
A model displays a new uniform combination for the Gophers football team in the 2018 season. (Courtesy of UMN)4 / 6
A model displays a new uniform combination for the Gophers football team in the 2018 season. (Courtesy of UMN)5 / 6
A model displays a new uniform combination for the Gophers football team in the 2018 season. (Courtesy of UMN)6 / 6

The Gophers released a variety of new uniform combinations on Tuesday that attempt to stay true to Minnesota’s traditional look while bringing in new elements.

With the theme “embracing the past to create the future,” the Gophers will have three new Nike jerseys (maroon, white and a anthracite, or gray) with three helmets (maroon, white and a shiny/chrome gold) and four pants (maroon, white, gold and anthracite). They will also have a variety of different shoes, socks and facemasks to compliment their gameday attire; there will be more than 100 possible combinations for next season, the school said.

Using head coach P.J. Fleck’s “Row the Boat” catch phrase, the jersey combos will have depictions of an oar as the center stripe of the helmet, and on the back, a compass with the player’s number and the school’s “Ski-U-Mah” cheer written out.

According to a Feb. 17, 2017, post by the news service of Western Michigan University, where Fleck first started using “Row the Boat,” the phrase became the “legal intellectual property of … Fleck” after he and his wife, Heather, agreed to donate $10,000 a year to WMU for five years. Officially, the catch phrase is owned by Harlan Sports Management, which represents the Gophers coach.

An agreement with Fleck allows Minnesota to use the phrase for free as long as Fleck is coach.

The new jerseys will have a boat and compass in the jersey numbers. With former head coach Jerry Kill, the inside of the numbers were bricks to signify his slogan for building the program, “brick by brick.” With Tracy Claeys, brick-like helmet stickers were incorporated.

The gold helmets are a darker shade then Minnesota has worn in the past, with the school saying “fans have longed to see (it) again.”

Minnesota worked with Nike’s Josh Iverson, who designed the Gophers previous uniforms worn from 2012-17. Last year, the Gophers added a few new touches, but weren’t able to alter much with the timeline of Fleck’s hire coming in January 2017.

The new  jersey will be debuted in the season opener against New Mexico State on Aug. 30 at TCF Bank Stadium.