The NCAA will allow patches on uniforms to commemorate and honor social justice issues, the Playing Rules Oversight Panel announced Thursday.
Some sports — like football — were able to allow patches previously, but rule books for other sports — like basketball — weren’t clear on the rule.
Student-athletes can wear patches on the front of uniforms or on the sleeve that celebrate or memorialize people, events or causes. The patches can not exceed 2.25 square inches and will need to be authorized by the school or conference. The patches must be identical for those who choose to wear them.
On the back of their jerseys, players can replace their name with names or words intended to memorialize people, events or causes. Those can vary by team member.
For example, Nebraska basketball would’ve been allowed to wear jerseys with the words "Hate Will Never Win" in 2018. Unable to, players wore warm-up t-shirts with the phrase.
The NBA this season is also allowing players to use specific phrases on their jerseys, including “Black Lives Matter” and names of men and women killed in police shootings.
The NCAA on Thursday also announced some rule changes to mitigate risk of spreading COVID-19. In football, the team area on the sidelines was expanded to the 15-yard lines (from the 25-yard lines) and the coin toss will be limited to two officials and one captain from each team.
In soccer, players ejected for spitting at an opponent will serve a two-game penalty. In volleyball, teams will remain on the same bench during a match instead of switching after each set.