The NCAA will permit college athletes to wear patches on their uniforms that promote and support social justice causes.
As approved by the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel, athletes in all sports will be permitted to “express support and voice their opinions” in two places on their uniforms: one on the front or sleeve of the uniform or on the nameplate on the back of the uniform — the spot typically reserved for the athlete’s last name.
The patches can also be for “commemorative and memorial purposes,” not solely for social issues. Predictably, the messages will require approval by “the school or conference.”
The patch on the front of the uniform will not exceed 2 ¼ square inches and “must be identical for those who choose to wear them,” though not all team members will be required to do so. The patch on the back will be an individual choice with “names/words intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes” permitted.
Here’s how the NCAA explained it in a press release:
The patch on the front, which most sports already allowed, as authorized by the school or conference, may be a commemorative/memorial patch (names, mascots, nicknames, logos and marks) intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes. The patch must not exceed 2¼ square inches and must be placed on the front or sleeve of the uniform. While not all team members are required to wear the patch, they must be identical for those who choose to wear them.
The second location is on the back of the uniform where the player name is traditionally located and, as authorized by the school or conference, will allow names/words intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes. The names or words may vary by team member.
COVID-19-related rule changes for 2020
The NCAA also announced a few temporary pandemic-related rule changes for football aimed to “help mitigate risk of contamination and enhance a safer return to play for all participants without affecting competitive equity.”
First, the sideline area where football teams are expected to stand has been extended to the 15-yard lines. Ordinarily, teams must stand within the two 25-yard lines.
Another change involves the coin toss. For the 2020-21 season, the coin toss will involve only four people: two officials and one captain from each team. Under ordinary circumstances, the NCAA allowed up to four captains per side, as well as media members or ceremonial captains to be involved in the coin toss.
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