Following the lead of the NBA, the NCAA is allowing its teams and players some latitude in personalizing their uniforms in 2020. The move, in addition to acknowledging the current social justice environment, makes consistent rules across all of its sports. Previuosly, some NCAA rulebooks mentioned patches, while others did not.
Commemorative patches and headgear stickers have previously been allowed, as have messages written on shoes and taped areas.
Two different rules now exist for patches on two different uniform areas, as approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel.
On the uniform front or sleeve, a commemorative or memorial patch, which can feature names, mascots, nicknames, logos and marks intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes, can be worn. The patch must not exceed 2¼ square inches. While not all team members are required to wear the patch, they must be identical for those who choose to wear them.
On the uniform back, there is more latitude. In place of the player’s name, names or words intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes can be worn. The names or words may vary by team member.
In both cases, the patches and wording must be authorized by the school and/or by the school’s conference.
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Rules modifications to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 were also approved by the Panel.
In football, team areas will be expanded to the 15-yard lines. Under the current rule, the team area was between the 25-yard lines. Only players, coaches and staff are allowed in the team area.
Also, the coin toss participants will be limited to two officials and one captain from each team. The current rule allowed up to four game captains and additional people such as media members or ceremonial captains to be in proximity of the coin toss.
In men’s and women’s soccer, players ejected for spitting at an opponent will have to serve a two-game penalty. The current rule called for an ejection and a one-game suspension.
In women’s volleyball, the teams will remain on the same bench during the entire match rather than switch benches after each set.