NCAA Proposes Uniforms-Cant-Match-Turf Rule; Not Just Boise Effected

Written By:  •  Tuesday, February 19, 2013

featured NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

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?

boise blue field NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

One assumes there are 11 Broncos players on the field… somewhere

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.

boise blue players NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

Blue all around, including underfoot at Boise State

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?

Eastern Washington Eagles red turf at Roos Field in Cheney, Washington Oregon ducks green NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

Red on red played on red Roos Field in 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?

usf green south florida NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

University of South Florida has even had green helmets to complete their full green look.

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.

Ohio Bobcats green-on-green green NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

Ohio Bobcats even use a flat green helmet to blend in.

Many teams in the NCAA use green, like Ohio above, and many of those go full green.

Oregon ducks green NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

To be fair, Oregon’s green is pretty dark. Well, this one time at least

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 green NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

Colorado State in all green with gold accents

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.

baylor green NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

At least Baylor has gold helmets

Baylor‘s gold helmets really shine. Some teams don’t often wear all green, but would be forbidden from bringing it back, like Michigan State.

michigan state green NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

They don’t wear it a lot, but Michigan State has green-on-green as an option

Throwback uniforms aren’t exempted Nor are special uses. Is the rule really meant to prevent these uniforms from appearing? How about Tulane?

tulane green NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

Tulane Green Wave sport their green-on-green

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?

Central Arkansas uca purple silver NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal uniform

Watcha gonna wear on this 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?

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JR Francis

JR Francis is an actor, writer, director, graphic designer, UX guru, father, comedian, and craft beer snob. You can reach him at or on Twitter @JRFrancisSLN*One of several full-time uniform reporters this site has including its founder, Chris Creamer, who started his site in 1997

  • No problemo (y) There’s at least 50,000 color schemes and shades for team uniforms and logos. The choices are limitless.

  • porkchop75

    That’s the most pathetic rule that I have ever seen! Though, I don’t think Oregon will have a tough time with this…

  • Delayed Penalty


  • Rob Brown

    eastern washington would be a good one for this rule. Red field and red uniforms.

  • Chase

    Yes the NCAA is bullying Boise but they dont realize they hurt other teams with this they have to look at all the angles

  • Ben Jacobson

    The NCAA has bigger fish to fry than this “problem”. It’s a joke that the color of a team’s uniform is a bigger priority than the rampant conference realignment moneygrab and the culture of corruption surrounding men’s basketball and football. The NCAA loses even more credibility with me over this farce.

    • Mitch

      Ben Jacobson appears to be right. Why should the NCAA worry about a team’s uniform colors when there are bigger problems, such as all the recent conference re-alignment. This just shows how backwards the NCAA thinks.

    • Reincarnation of Einstein

      Right now, the NCAA should be worrying about how Obama is going to be responding to this. They’re killing team spirit.

  • Jon

    porkchop75 hit the nail on the head; this is a dumb rule.

  • dustyman

    i think the teams you mentioned Oregon Tulane Baylor etc. teams with green shouldn’t have to listen to the rule if it comes into effect but personally i think this a dumb rule it may be hard to see them on tv but on the field as your picture showed they can easily be spotted so idk

  • Silly rule. The only way to make it cut and dry would be to state that no team can wear the same color shirt and pants, regardless of the field color.

  • SouthstanderRSM

    I do support this rule to a degree. the way it is now it gives one team an unfair advantage over the other. This is why the NCAA is addressing this issue. Maybe a better way to take away these advantages is to say that the color of the turf must be a natural color.

  • Nick

    The NCAA is taking the fun out of college football! Once these guys make it to the pros it will be all about what “the man” wants so let these 18-22 year old kids enjoy the craziness that goes with college football. Completely disagrees with the NCAAs decision on this and the “Tebow Rule”

  • ebstus

    And the NCAA has nothing better to do!!!

  • Rob S.

    Wow, Central Atkansas has some pretty swank uniforms.Never saw their field either.kind of cool…At least the colors are alternating on the field. I can’t imagine the NCAA will put this rule in effect for all the reasons JR mentioned above.Too much interpretation and explanations would be needed.Boise and Eastern Wash are the only ones shown that may be a concern, but I wouldn’t want thje NCAA to force their hands on this.They already have too much power.

  • I hope this rule doesn’t pass. Yes the Boise St players are tuff to see but maybe they can make the rule state that you can’t wear colors that blend in with nonnatural fields ie the blue field in boise or the red field in eastern Washington. But should not effect teams that play on natural colored (green) fields. Since there are 10x more green fields than non green fields.

  • Andy

    I get the idea that this whole proposed rule change is about TV more than anything else. When you’re on the field or the sidelines you can easily see every player on the home team. Either that or it’s just a precaution to keep teams from intentionally trying to camouflage themselves.

  • Dave

    I am extremely thankful that the only problem that the NCAA needs to address this year is the color of Boise State uniforms on when they play at home. The problems at Penn State, players committing crimes, coaches violating the recruiting rules, conference realignment do not even compare to Boise State wearing all blue when playing on the Blue.
    How do you spell PETTY?

  • John William Baxter

    Good, football shouldn’t be played on a anything but a green field. That is what football has been like and what it should be like. I bet they just do it because they think they’re special. Why don’t you just have LSU change their field to yellow or Texas change theirs to orange!

    • Dave

      What shade of green would like princes? Some of the “green” field look light brown on TV so do the need to green them up also?

    • porkchop75

      Look, If the NCAA wanted to tell Boise State that they need to do something with their whole blue uniforms, they could just tell them to change their pants to orange or white or even silver!!!! This “rule” is a joke. The people who made this rule up care more about fashion than safety. Almost half of the players who are participating in football have injured their heads because of hard hitters like Clowney from SC, and you’re more worried about uniforms!?!?!? I thought this was America’s game, not just another fashion show!!!

  • Whatever happened to home-field advantage?

  • ingmar66

    The NCAA should leave this issue alone. It is obvious Boise wanted to switch conferences anyway (because of increased revenues) and banning all blue uniforms on blue fields will not change their minds and switch back to their old conference. What the NCAA should address is the constant re-alignment of teams looking for more money. It is confusing fans and destroying traditional rivalries. Maybe they should create a super league with all the traditional big teams, allow the so-called student athletes to be paid between the ages of 18 and 24 (depending on injuries, red shirt and other situations) and turn this super league with top 25-30 teams like Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame, LSU, Alabama and the rest of them into a legitimate minor league for the NFL . As for the other teams that do not want to turn pro, align them in regional competitions and call that Division I, II and III depending on their size and commitment to competitve athletics. Get rid of the hipocracy of the big programs and pay the players. And do the same super league in basketball: top 25-30 teams that are willing to turn pro create a better minor league (both in playing level and atmosphere) than the Development League. As for all the Bowls and March Madness, leave that to the non-pro schools.

  • Andy Lefkowitz

    … affected – not effected.

  • Peter

    extremely stupid

  • Mingjai

    I would be fine with the rule because it does offer an added advantage to the home team. Imagine hockey teams wearing monochrome white. I do think that there should be an exception for monochrome green for physiological reasons. The human eye has about twice as many receptors for green as it does for blue or red, so humans are natually able to distinguish between shades of green much better than blues or reds.

  • JML

    New Haven Chargers (Connecticut) D3 also have blue turf

  • RCP

    The NCAA enjoys making rules for everything. The rules are becoming as strict as the International Olympic Council at the Olympic Games. However, I think the NCAA should ease up a bit..

  • Jon
  • Jon

    oops wrong email