The NCAA Football Rules Committee met this week and had ten proposals for new rules for football under their watch. The most interesting of the set is a uniform matter that has been termed by some as “The Boise State rule.”
See, Boise State has their infamous blue field, and they love wearing an all blue uniform set. Its very important to the team. When the Mountain West Conference member schools complained that the Boise players were camouflaged, the conference banned the matching. How did Boise respond? By signing a deal to move to the Big East conference. When The Mountain West asked what they could do in order to keep Boise, one of their demands was that the all-blue look needed to once again be legal.
But now, the NCAA is hovering their huge influence over Boise, and considering a rule of their own.
To require teams to have either their jersey or pants contrast in color to the playing field.
But is this rule necessary?
One can’t look at the above photo and argue that; “the players stand out just fine.” They are difficult to see. Maybe its considerably easier in person and certainly easier when you are ON the field with a perspective that likely includes fans, your own sideline, cheerleaders, etc.
But if this is truly “The Boise Rule” then the NCAA should have used the word “Boise” or “blue.” There are several other teams that could potentially affected by this rule, should it be passed, and some team in ways I’m willing to wager that the NCAA doesn’t intend.
How about Eastern Washington?
EWU installed red turf a few years ago, and often wear red helmets, red jerseys, and red pants. I’m betting the NCAA wasn’t thinking about them, but perhaps the same camouflage effect is of the same concern here.
But what about natural grass? What color is that?
That’s right. Green. Shown here by USF, if the proposal becomes law, teams with a green uniform will be forbidden from wearing both green jerseys and green pants.
Many teams in the NCAA use green, like Ohio above, and many of those go full green.
Oregon is known to go all-green at least once a season. Accent colors aren’t accounted for, so even with a strong secondary color, matching the field would be against the rules.
Colorado State wears all green, which allows their gold to stand out. Others have a different color of helmet, but the rule proposal doesn’t address helmets, only jersey and pants.
Throwback uniforms aren’t exempted Nor are special uses. Is the rule really meant to prevent these uniforms from appearing? How about Tulane?
While I would enjoy a rule that prevented any team from matching their pants and jerseys, except when wearing white, this isn’t a sartorial concern, this is supposed to be about making sure players stand out on the field of play. The danger is, that determination is a judgement call and judgement calls are open to interpretation. That interpretation can easily be questioned, argued, and second-guessed. So, the judgement needs to be removed and a zero-tolerance, black-and-white, pass/fail rule ends up being made. While the intention may be true, the practice becomes so difficult it ends up more hassle than it was initially designed to prevent.
What color uniforms would the NCAA have poor Central Arkansas wear on their purple and silver alternating-striped field?
They will need a soccer-style “clash kit” for all their home games!
Or, this silly rule could be exposed for what it is; The NCAA attempting to bully a specific team. And if you want to do that, just tell Boise not to wear all blue.
What do you think? Good rule? NCAA bullying? Will you look forward to all green-on-green uniforms being banned?