Student-athletes will now be able to let their voices be heard through wearing patches on their respective uniforms for commemorative and memorial purposes and to support social justice issues, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel announced on Thursday.
Members of that panel met last week to reaffirm and adjust the rules surrounding uniform altercations. Players will have two options on what their patches can be worn, on the front of the jersey or the back.
The patch on the front must be authorized by the school and must be intended to commemorate or memorialize people, causes, or events. It can be placed on the front or on the sleeve and not exceed 2 1/4 square inches.
A player will not be forced to wear one, but for the players who elect to do so, they must be identical.
On the back of the jersey, where the nameplate is, student-athletes can choose to put names or words there intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events, or causes if authorized by the respective school.
The phrases on the back of the jersey can vary for each player.
With fall sports on the horizon of returning across the country, the panel also approved a set of rules changes that could limit the spread of COVID-19.
In football, the coin toss will now be between two officials and one team captain from each team. Originally, each team could bring up to four captains at midfield for the coin toss.
The team areas on the sideline will be expanded from the 25-yard line to the 15-yard line to allow players to social distance.
For men's and women's soccer, if one player spits on another player, that person will be ejected and serve a two-match suspension.
For women's volleyball, both teams will stay on the same bench for the entirety of the match instead of switching sides after each set.