Sunday, February 15, 2009

NCAA football teams now allowed to wear home jersey colors in games

According to a new NCAA ruling, college football teams in 2009 may both wear home jerseys during football games as long as they are clearly contrasting in color:

Approved a request to allow teams, when approved by the conference office and agreed to by both teams, to wear colored jerseys as long as they are clearly contrasting in color. When an agreement is unable to be reached, the visiting team shall wear white.

Conferences have authority to make their own rulings on the matter, however.

There certainly are appropriate applications for this ruling. Well, OK "appropriate" may not be the best word. How about traditional? Because some college football uniforms are far from "appropriate". Some teams like Oregon, West Virginia, Georgia Tech and others have recently (since the 1990s) selected lighter colored variations of home jerseys jerseys and even non-white away jerseys. In southern California, most recall the colorful tradition associated with the epic battle for Los Angeles when PAC-10 powers USC and UCLA football teams would collide every autumn in the golden sun. In recent years, the Trojans and Bruins both had to suspend their home-jersey-wearing tradition for their meeting due to NCAA regulations that prohibited it. We know too that LSU in the SEC likes to wear their away white jerseys at seemingly every single opportunity they can.

Whoa! Yellow football duds. Is this the part where opponents feel "intimidated"?

Georgia Tech and Old Gold. That's because their school colors are Old Gold and White, for crying out loud. (No pun intended.)

In my view, this is a decidedly smart move by the NCAA because it allows football teams to follow tradition where it's actually warranted (e.g. UCLA vs. USC), but also provides much appreciated checks and balances (e.g. "agreed to by both teams") so that no team can assert the right for themselves alone. Both sides must concur well before kickoff.

I remember the 1976 Rose Bowl game, where the Big Ten champion faced the PAC-8 or PAC-10 champion on an annual basis on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California. In the Rose Bowl game, the designated "home team" was alternated every year between the two conference. In 1976, the undefeated 11-0-0 Buckeyes were the designated home team, yet Dick Vermeil's 8-2-1 UCLA Bruins ran onto the field in their powderkeg blue uniforms. The Bruins won this game 23-10, shocking the nation and destroying the Buckeyes' hopes for a national championship. It was the last time the Rose Bowl game featured both teams in home uniforms.

Blame it on the uniforms.

As for the Big Ten conference, I don't believe, for example, we will ever witness the Ohio State Buckeyes stepping onto the FieldTurf of Michigan Stadium with home Scarlet jerseys. Nor vice versa in Ohio Stadium.

Some traditions are best left unaltered.

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