The NCAA has officially banned Ezekiel Elliott’s on-field sense of style.
During a teleconference last Thursday, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved several rule changes for the 2015 season, including one that prohibits players from showing their back pads, which is the style of Elliott, the Ohio State running back who tucks the bottom of his jersey up into his pads.
Officials will treat illegal equipment issues — such as jerseys tucked under the shoulder pads or exposed back pads — by making the player leave the field for at least one play. The equipment must be corrected for the player to return to the game. The player may remain in the game if his team takes a timeout to correct the equipment issue.
Elliott made the cropped jersey stylish last season while rushing for 1,878 yards and 18 touchdowns. He rushed for 696 of those yards and eight scores during the Buckeyes’ Big Ten title game and their two College Football Playoff games, including 246 yards and four touchdowns during the national championship game against Oregon. He was named the MVP for his efforts.
Earlier in the year, Elliott gave an explanation for his style, which included a mixture of comfort and on-field advantage.
“I like my jersey tucked up because I don’t like how long the jerseys are, I don’t like people being able to grab on me,” Elliott said. “I like a little midriff showing. A lot of great players before me have worn [it] like Eddie George. So I’m gonna keep wearing it that way.”
While this might appear to be a case of the NCAA being a Debbie Downer, Elliott himself does note that tucking up his jersey gives defenders one fewer thing to grab while trying to bring him down. Some might claim (and this is why the rule came about) that the tucked up jersey is an unfair advantage.
While Elliott’s fashion choice wasn’t what made him a great running back a year ago, we’ll see how the jersey rule affects his escapability in the fall.
While Elliott's crop top is gone, his father took to Twitter to claim he would carry on the tradition while watching his son in the stands.
— Ambassador Elliott (@stacy_elliott) March 9, 2015
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