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NCAA: Student-Athletes May Wear Social Justice Patches, Statements On Uniform Backs

An NCAA council approved plans Wednesday to allow student-athletes in all sports to wear patches and words on their uniforms supporting social justice causes.

Although uniform rules vary from sport to sport, the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel recommended all playing rules committees implement updated patch policies for all sports beginning this fall.

Under the recommended guidelines, student-athletes are permitted to wear patches supporting social justice issues or commemorating causes, people, events, and more. Each patch must not exceed 2.25 square inches and needs to be placed on the front or sleeve of uniforms. They can’t interfere with any existing uniform markings.

Additionally, student-athletes would be premitted to put names or words on the back of their uniforms to “celebrate or memorialize persons, events, or other causes” where names would traditionally be located. Unlike patches, which must be uniform across all players, names and words placed on the backs of uniforms can be unique to each player.

At this time, it’s unclear if Penn State, which traditionally refuses to put words or names on the backs of its uniforms, would implement these uniform changes. Penn State Athletics did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last year, the NCAA implemented ugly football uniform patches commemorating college football’s 150th season. If the Nittany Lions were to adopt the NCAA’s approved rule change, this would be the second season in a row Penn State strays away from its traditional black shoes and basic blues.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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