Advertisements on Uniforms Could Happen in College Football This Fall

Greg Burks, Big 12 Coordinator of Officials, didn't rule out the potential of endorsements on jerseys as soon as the 2021 football season.
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ARLINGTON, TX — Name, Image and Likeness has opened up numerous avenues for student-athletes to profit in college that were previously untapped.

One way college football fans could see that manifest on Saturdays in 2021? Advertisements on players' jerseys.

Greg Burks, the Big 12 Coordinator of Officials, said Thursday that there is now a gray area in the NCAA rules that could allow for a player to place an endorsement on their uniform.

“The NCAA has now OK'd a 16-square-inch patch, four inches by four inches, for any sentiment that you want to hold on to,” Burks said after his rules presentation at Big 12 Media Days. “So unity, whatever it may be, and the individual player can wear that. Not everyone has to wear that.

“So when you ask me about NIL, if (a player) wants to put (a sponsor), does he have that right? Who screens whether or not that’s valid? I don’t have those answers.”

Burks acknowledged how appetizing such a deal would be for each athlete, as it’s something he would consider himself if he were in that position.

“I do know that if I could put a patch on (my jersey), and you pay me 100 grand for that patch, I’d look at it,” he said. “But the rules are pretty specific as to what can go on the uniform.”

For now, Burks said that determination could be at the discretion of the on-field referee, who may have to radio in to Burks himself at the Big 12 replay center. Calls may even go higher up the chain on a game day, Burks said, to the Big 12 Commissioner’s office, illustrating just how broad all of the NIL rules are at this point.

The line could be further blurred when it comes to celebrations on the field.

Burks highlighted taunting as a point of emphasis for Big 12 officials this season. The goal is to promote team celebrations as opposed to celebrations that shine the light on just an individual player.

The entire issue of NIL bleeding over into game days hasn’t been formally broached, Burks said.

It’s not something he would want to have to legislate, but there are two sides to every celebration, he said.

“We don’t want celebration penalties, but you always have to remember when that kid’s behaving that way, that the coach on the other sideline is watching that and saying ‘Howcome that’s not a foul?’ ” he said.

Much like the rest of the NIL rules, college football is uncharted waters.