With sports on hold due to the global pandemic, many athletes around the world have shifted their focus to fighting for social justice. In response to these efforts, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) has announced that they will “allow student-athletes in all sports to wear patches on their uniforms for commemorative and memorial purposes, as well as to support social justice issues.”
In the new ruling, any patch on the front of the uniform must be no greater than 2¼ inches and be identical for all team members who elect to wear them. Players are also permitted to replace their own last name on the back of their uniform to honor a social justice cause of their choosing. Messages that are intended to be worn by any team are to be approved by the respective school or conference.
Previous ruling on this topic was unaddressed for most sports and not allowed in others, but this motion by the NCAA is vital to sparking the change that many athletes want to see in the world. With leagues like the WNBA, NWSL, and NBA backing the social justice movement on warm-up and game uniforms, the NCAA now allows that foundation of support to grow.
While professional athletes can influence the world at large, student-athletes and their teams can have a more intimate relationship with their surrounding communities and fans, making their statements for social justice equally as powerful.
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