Whether an expression or form or function, say goodbye to the crop-top. Recent changes to the NCAA’s uniform rules will limit the amount of skin a player can show during the 2018 season.
New #NCAA uniform rules
— College Sports Design (@CFB_Design) April 30, 2018
No longer will players be allowed to expose their midriffs, wear shirts un-tucked from their pants, or play with an exposed back plate. Oh, and be sure to cover up those knees, too.
A January letter from the NCAA’s Rules Committee reminded member institutions “of the importance for taking responsibility to ensure that student-athletes are properly equipped.” Calling it a “front-line responsibility” the committee criticized schools’ inattention to “ensuring that the [uniform] rules are vigorously enforced.”
The announcement has been met with some controversy, and most likely, you probably already have an opinion on it. The backlash is players now have less control over personal comfort choices and being able to express their personal style. Others appreciate the crackdown on “sloppy” appearances.
Not all changes are for pure appearance reasons, either. Requiring players to have their knees fully covered by padding at all times is more safety related. No, it’s not going to protect much against ACL injuries, but it will help limit the some of the bruising and impacts on the knee.
Could it impact performance too, though? Players are constantly looking for even the slightest edge, and players sometimes slide their knee pads onto the lower thigh to reduce friction, or for better air-flow will hike up their jerseys above the abdomen.
So which is it? Is the NCAA making a well-intentioned move towards uniformity and professionalism, or is this a needless overreach into matters of personal choice and individuality?