The NCAA Football Rules Committee released their rule changes for the upcoming season today and they have got people talking. While most of the discussion is centered around the ridiculous banning of hashtags on the playing field, one of the rule changes regarding uniforms seems to be targeting a very specific member of the Pac 12. Could the NCAA have been targeting the Oregon Ducks with a new rule about the color of jersey numbers?
From the NCAA Football Rules Committee release:
New in 2013 Jersey numerals must be of a color that itself is clearly in distinct contrast with the color of the jersey, irrespective of any border around the number. (Rule 1-4-4-c-3)
Oregon has a reputation for playing with the boundaries of fashion sense in college football, rolling out countless combinations of colors, textures and patterns in recent years. It’s one of the things that has set them apart in college football as they have built one of the fastest running offenses in the country. They’ve made the Ducks a regular topic of conversation almost as much for their jersey combinations as for their four straight BCS bowl appearances.
But some of their jersey combination can border on the monotone. Sometimes the only difference between the main jersey and the jersey numbers are a shinier piece of fabric and a contrasting border. In the picture above, it would be pretty hard to tell who is who without the bright yellow border around the jerseys. And sometimes, that border isn’t even that much help.
It can be argued (and likely was) that monotone jerseys made it difficult for opponents to make adjustments based on the personnel coming and out of the game. Much like the complaints that many people have had with the Boise State Broncos wearing their all-blue uniforms on their blue turf, it gives the team a competitive advantage as the other team doesn’t know who is who or where they’re lined up from the press box as coaches try and call down adjustments.
So will this new “Oregon Rule” affect the Ducks’ fortunes in 2013? Or will it have no effect on their play and just make watching the games and calling them from the press box that much easier and more enjoyable? While the fashion department at Nike may take a hit, it will be no more than a minor hiccup on the field.