The NCAA will allow rules student-athletes in all sports to wear patches on their uniforms for commemorative and memorial purposes, as well as to support social justice issues.
After meeting by videoconference last week, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel voted to allow student-athletes two places on the uniform, one on the front and one on the back, to express support and voice their opinions.
The patch on the front, 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 – which cannot exceed 2 1/4 square inches and must be placed on the front or sleeve of the uniform – must be identical for those who choose to wear them on each individual team.
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.
In the same release, the NCAA announced that due to challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the panel has approved changing or waiving playing rules for the 2020-21 year that may help to mitigate risk of contamination and enhance a safer return to play for all participants without affecting competitive equity.
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.
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.