Is New Soccer Uni Regulation a Whitewash?

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Way back in June I got a note from a reader named Shane Davis. He works for Speedline Athletic Wear, which provides uniforms for lots of high school sports. Unfortunately, a combination of factors led me to back-burner his communiqué for way too long, but now I’d like to share what he wrote to me:

The NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) is an organization that publishes the game rules and uniform rules for high school athletics. Last October they published their rule changes for high school soccer. Starting fall 2013, they are requiring home teams to wear a solid one-color white jersey. If they are any inserts or piping, those need to be white as well.

Initially I thought that this might have something to do with referees’ sight lines and calling fouls. But if that were the case, it would stand to reason that the away team would have to wear a solid dark color — and it turns out that no such rule is being implemented.

Looking from another angle, small to mid-market U.S. uniform manufacturers, like my company Speedline, do not acquire or manufacture any uniforms overseas. It is in the best interest of the larger branded manufacturers to crank out five or six styles (solid white) in huge-volume lots. These large-volume lots would undoubtedly be produced overseas. Then they can ship from inventory. Now here is the rub: High-volume manufacturing drives the per-piece price of the solid white home jerseys so low that the large companies can almost give them away. And if a high school team is already using one outfitter for their home jerseys, they’ll most likely buy that manufacturer for their away jerseys.

In other words, Shane is suggesting that this rule change is designed to make it easy for the big companies to use solid white jerseys as a low-cost loss leader, and then they’ll make their profit on the colored road jersey.

He goes on:

The overseas stock houses produce a given style in only a handful of combinations (red/white, blue/white, black/gold). One of the main reasons high schools and universities have chosen our product is that they can order any color combination they want (no matter how absurd — blue-green-gold). When an organization like the NFHS makes a simple rule change forcing the selection of a mass-manufactured inventory style, they have left U.S. manufacturers out in the cold.

Translation: By giving big companies an avenue to produce solid white jerseys for free, the new regulation undercuts the one competitive advantage that smaller operators had (i.e., the ability to offer unusual color combinations), because schools will likely go for the cheap white jersey and then stick with the same big outfitter for their road jersey.

I asked Shane what the NFHS’s stated rationale was for the rule change. His response:

They said it’s “to better differentiate [the home team from] the visiting team, which is required to wear jerseys and socks that are dark.” They had a press release stating the rule change was happening, but it was a very “This is how it is, because I say so” statement. The rule used to specify “White or Light Colored Jerseys” — we had the option to have decorative side panels or contrasting inserts/piping. But not anymore.

I think it comes down to it being a lot easier for the large manufacturers to run 300,000-piece lots of one color then it is for them to devote 13.25% manufacturing to white/red, 6.75% manufacturing to white/navy, and so on.

I’ll be frank here: I don’t care a whole lot about high school soccer. But I care plenty about rules that are rigged to help corporations and squeeze out the little guy. Is that really what the NFHS is doing here? Even if it’s true, they’d never admit it. It’s certainly interesting food for thought, and a good illustration of how something as simple as a uniform regulation can affect jobs here in America.

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I was on the radio yesterday, discussing Permanent Record. You can listen to the segment here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Some web site that sells super-cheap (read: counterfeit) jerseys is touting this as the Flyers’ Winter Classic design. Remember, just because it’s counterfeit doesn’t mean it isn’t accurate. Also doesn’t mean it is accurate. Discuss (from Joseph S. Young). ”¦ Jets QB Mark Sanchez, who suffered a broken nose last Sunday, will wear a visor for the next few weeks. … The Devils have confirmed that their 30th-anniversary logo will only be used for ads, promotions, etc., not as a jersey patch. … Oh baby, check out this completely amazing early -1940s duckpin bowling photo. That’s one of many amazing archival images — some sports-related, some not — that Jason Bernard found here. … New stadium-anniversary logo for the Orioles. “The black portion in the middle is a replica of the large signs on the warehouse,” says Brian Bittner. … The Patriots will wear throwbacks on Oct. 9 against the Jets (from Brett Paci). … For once it was okay to ask, “What’s with the green dot?” Iowa added the little green markers last Saturday, and also wore green wristbands, as a shout-out to former player Brett Greenwood, who’s in the hospital (good one from Alex Miklo). … Here’s the latest article about high-tech “wired” sports shirts (from Tom Mulgrew). … Small item on this page notes that Pablo Sandoval bunted left-handed because he couldn’t find his right-handed batting helmet (big thanks to Jamie Costello). … Here’s the logo for the “I’m Calling It Giants Stadium” Super Bowl host committee. … My Page 2 colleague Kurt Snibbe came up with a medieval concept for the early-season success of the Bills and Lions. … Eagle-eyed Andy McKechnie spotted the Flyers doing a photo shoot that involved a home jersey and a road helmet, and David Ryan noticed the same thing in another shot. Just a mix-up, or a hint of things to come? … Kyle Ostendorf wonders why a Cardinals fan would be wearing Broncos eye black. … Nike’s latest “gift” to the world: Day-Glo lacrosse heads (from Jeff Brunelle). ”¦ New hockey jerseys for Nebraska-Omaha. “The white ones are about as boring as a hockey sweater can get,” says Patrick Zach. ”¦ Sponsorship adjustment for Barca (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Good spot by Tony Burke, who noticed SportsCenter using the old and new versions of the NFC logo at the same time. ”¦ College football note from Brady Graham, who writes: “Scott Bostwick was named the next head football coach of Northwest Missouri State but died suddenly before being able to coach his first game. Bostwick, who was known for wearing a red cap on the sidelines during his time as defensive coordinator, apparently had been pushing for a black alternate jersey for some time, so the Bearcats wore black jerseys, red wrist and ankle tape, and red helmet decals in his memory last Saturday.”

161 comments to Is New Soccer Uni Regulation a Whitewash?

  • RJ | September 28, 2011 at 7:21 am |

    Having played and now watch my kid play youth soccer, there is no need for solid white at home unless two teams wear the same / similar color say (I know these aren’t High School but) UCONN and Georgetown who may have a similar shade of blue as their primary color or Syracuse / Clemson.

    • DanKing9 | September 28, 2011 at 8:15 am |

      I played soccer in high school and my mom is a current Ohio High School ref and we both agree that this is the absolute dumbest “rule” we have ever heard of. It get’s better though: Ohio is making the rule so that they have to have white shorts as well. So now most teams will have to buy another pair of shorts to go with the new jerseys, costing them even more money. Most home uniforms are mostly white anyway so why the sudden “need” to change it besides for the big manufacturers?

      RJ, I believe that every team is required to have 2 jerseys, one white and one whatever color, so those issues don’t arise. I know this is true for high school, just not sure about in college.

      • Silver Creek Doug | September 28, 2011 at 8:25 am |

        I’m a HS referee in GA and it’s my understanding that it’s not just Ohio that requires white shorts. I thought I read it’s a NFHS rule as well, so the home teams would wear solid mono white.

        I think it’s silly.

        • Connie | September 28, 2011 at 8:48 am |

          Totally silly, ref. And potentially scandalous. Can anybody provide contact info re NFHS or names of responsible individuals or committees or whatever?

        • DanKing9 | September 28, 2011 at 9:12 am |

          Connie, as it says in this write-up ( ) it was the NFHS Board of Directors. It also shows that this rule has been in the works for a few years. This is their contact info as listed on their website: National Federation of State High School Associations PO Box 690 – Indianapolis, IN 46206 – PHONE: 317.972.6900 – FAX: 317.822.5700

        • DanKing9 | September 28, 2011 at 9:40 am |

          also, i’d be the smartass that would order white jerseys with white numbers as a form of protest. the rule says nothing about numbering and lettering just that they must be plain white.

        • RJ | September 28, 2011 at 10:37 am |

          When I played we had color roads, white homes, but only colored shorts / socks,.. those home whites will be a fugly brown/green mess in no time…

          I only used colleges as a color example… to some small extent I get it, its takes guess work out, but total monochrome.. so what no numbers either

    • Terry Proctor | September 28, 2011 at 10:29 am |

      Methinks I smell a rat here. Could the implementation of this rule somehow bring about the NFHS signing an exclusive deal with oh, just for arguement’s sake, some company like Nike or Reebok or adidas to produce the officially approved soccer uniforms for all high schools?

      And where would this lead? A big payoff to the NFHS coffers for starters. And ultimately higher uniform costs for every school team in the country. Even though one of these big companies will be the only official supplier for soccer uniforms and that the all-White uni is mandatory big swooshie/striper et al manufacturer can (and will) charge mega-bucks for their crapass tissue-thin jerseys (that will have to be replaced in a year or two) made in a grungie sweatshop overseas in East Jamoche.

      There’s more to this “rule” than meets the eye. You know what they say, “Follow the money!!!!!”

      PS-I love the idea of an all-White uniform, numbers, lettering and crest. That would show those nitwits at NFHS headquarters. Who do they think they are, the NCAA?

      • jdreyfuss | September 28, 2011 at 11:48 am |

        At times like this I always rely on Hanlon’s Razor:
        “Never blame on malice that which could be adequately explained by incompetence.” Without evidence of corruption, it seems likelier that this is an unintended consequence of an unnecessary rule change.

        • Lloyd Davis | September 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

          True dat. We are, after all, missing the smoking gun. Which in this case, could be something like a corollary decree that the home team wear white *shoes* as well.

      • Silver Creek Doug | September 28, 2011 at 10:27 pm |

        Down here in my neck of the woods in NW GA, one manufacturer/supplier would not fly.

        Too many HS here have apparel deals for all their athletic teams. If an Adidas school had to buy Nike soccer uniforms, all hell would break loose…

    • Kevin Hastings | September 28, 2011 at 10:44 am |

      I’m actually pissed about the insane NFHS regulation from an insufferable soccer purist perspective. The notion of ‘white at home’ is a purely American sports invention – there is no need for it in soccer. While the notion of home, away and 3rd (4th, 5th) kits in world football is accepted nowadays, historically there is no such distinction. You still have a primary (home) strip in your standard team colors (white, blue, pink, whatever), then you have a “change strip” that you ensures you will clash with another team – if need be – for road matches.

    • Pat | September 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm |

      I played high school soccer and still play in rec leagues. I also volunteer my time at my alma mater whether it be for tryouts or reffing scrimmages in the summer or whatever. I have had discussions with the coach about this rule and we both agree that it is perhaps the dumbest rule ever when it comes to uniforms. For several reasons, but one being how do you represent your school colors other than your numbers. It’s a really ridiculous rule and someone needs to stand up to the NFHS and demand that they either change it or give a logical reason that doesn’t involve corporate pandering.

    • Geen | September 29, 2011 at 5:37 pm |

      Color-on-color (heck, same-color!) seems to be allowed in Canada. These are two field hockey teams wearing red. Yep, Same shade, too.

  • M-N | September 28, 2011 at 7:30 am |

    I think that Cards fan is giving a shout out the the prince of peace aka the worlds greatest third string qb timmy.

  • The Jeff | September 28, 2011 at 7:36 am |

    So yesterday someone posts this: and everyone agrees that the Flyers ought to use that design. Then today we get that counterfeit jersey. I think those guys are reading the blog.

    • apk3000 | September 28, 2011 at 7:51 am |

      People have been making concept drawings based on that Quakers design pretty much since the speculation that Philly was considered for the Winter Classic host.

      • inkracer | September 28, 2011 at 9:07 am |

        Yeah, I know a few people who like the Flyers on Facebook have already gone ahead and purchased the jerseys.

    • MNDomer | September 28, 2011 at 9:33 am |

      I attended the Flyers/Rangers preseason game on Monday following the official announcement, and saw at least a half dozen of those faux-back Quakers/Flyers jerseys, sans the Winter Classic patch. I think this style has been around since before the WC news.

  • NickV | September 28, 2011 at 7:36 am |


    Wow! What photos posted yesterday by Larry B. I had my teams switched on the 1973 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl — it was Houston that wore the School name on front. The game photo with “Tulane” and stripes on the jerseys appears to be taken inside the Superdome — given the lighting — which would put it right at 1975 or 1976. I know that in 1977 they actually wore Sky Blue numerals trimmed in White on their Green home jerseys.

    I was absolutely unaware of the early 1960s “Wave” helmet (if you look very closely, they look like padded topped MagGregor helmets), as well as the darker Blue helmet later. I do know — from Black and White photos — that at some point in the mid-1960s they appear to have worn Silver or Light Blue pants and helmets, and wore White jerseys at home for at east one season (1965) in that era —I have the 1965 yearbook indicating this. Alas, all of the photos are B&W lacking in color.

    In that era they changed coaches quite a bit, and unis along with it ….

    I grew up going to Tulane games from 1970 through the present. By that time they had settled into the White helmet, White Pants, Green home jersey template. I had no idea they wore some of those unis Larry posted. Thanks !!!

    One last item. On the plain Green jerseys that the football team wore in quite a few photos and media guides in the mid-1970s — with “Tulane” on the front and with plain White numerals, with no trim or striping, the numerals were in the font style currently worn by the Boston Red Sox. Very unique font style not often seen for football — maybe used by the AFL Chargers at some point, but to my knowledge not many teanms ….

    • Pierre | September 28, 2011 at 8:29 am |

      Nick, it was like a trip down memory lane for me…

      I remember the wave helmets from ’62. Tulane’s star halfback was Gordon Rush. I believe his son later played for LSU. Tulane changed uniforms a lot during that period. Although I don’t remember the blue helmets, I do remember Tulane wearing silver helmets one year in the mid-sixties…and, of course, the jerseys that said “BEAT LSU”, which was wishful thinking, at best.

      As I said yesterday, as a kid I would go to as many Tulane games as I could…not that I liked Tulane (which I didn’t) but because I got to see college football up close on a regular basis. Times were a lot safer back then and my dad would just drop me off at Tulane Stadium on game nights. You could approach the players and actually walk with them from their locker room to the field. As a kid this was a thrill…

      I have lots of fond memories of Tulane Stdium. One year (pre-Saints) the Green Bay Packers played an exhibition game at Tulane Stadium. The day before the game I took a bus to Tulane Stadium to watch them practice. I walked right alongside Vince Lombardi from the locker room to the field listening to his conversation. I felt like I was in the presence of God…

      I went to the Sugar Bowl quite often and even learned how to sneak onto the field in the fourth quarter. Fun and exciting times for a little kid who loved football…

    • Pierre | September 28, 2011 at 8:49 am |


      Nick, I’ve been a serious amateur photgrapher since way back. In the late seventies I had a good friend who was a newspaper photographer and he used to take me along to shoot LSU and Tulane games. I shot several Tulane games in the Dome during the Roch Hontas era. IMO, those were the coolest Tulane uniforms ever. One vivid memory I have are the racks of tear-away jerseys behind the bench.

      Unfortunately I lost all my LSU and Tulane negatives in Hurricane Katrina.

    • Chris Holder | September 28, 2011 at 9:48 am |

      Is it just me, or does Tulane have a GREAT color scheme? The dark green/sky blue just really does it for me. This SEC fan would love to see them brought BACK to the conference if more expansion happens, though I know that possibility is slim to none.

      • Jim Vilk | September 28, 2011 at 10:19 am |

        It’s not just you. I try to get Tulane games into the Top 5 lists as often as possible. Fantastic color scheme.

        • Phil Hecken | September 28, 2011 at 12:17 pm |

          no shit

          some sums of dinero have been recouped on this very quirk of yours

        • Simply Moono | September 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm |

          Forest Green and Light Blue make up the greatest color scheme of all time. In fact, If you go to my Twitter and YouTube pages (that I redesigned about 12 hours ago), you’ll see that I modeled my pages after their colors. Still some tweaking to be done for Twitter (link in my comment handle, BTW).

      • teenchy | September 28, 2011 at 10:47 am |

        Agreed on Tulane’s colors. Technically that green’s supposed to be olive though it looks more forest/hunter to me.

        Tulane and Georgia had a bit of controversy about a decade ago when Georgia sued Tulane for cancelling three games against them. The suit was settled when Georgia admitted it lost no money because of Tulane’s cancellations; Tulane paid a $2500 “nuisance fee” to UGa and that was that.

        Still I wouldn’t mind seeing them back in the SEC, and wish the SEC would swap the ACC South Carolina for Georgia Tech. I don’t really think Sewanee could hack it in the conference again, unfortunately.

        • Connie | September 28, 2011 at 11:03 am |

          Great colors.

      • Flip | September 28, 2011 at 6:16 pm |

        Vanderbilt might cheer a Tulane entry into the SEC.

  • Shane | September 28, 2011 at 7:49 am |


    (I’m going to the game and had a fire lit in hope for Pat Patrtiot)

  • BDanner | September 28, 2011 at 8:01 am |

    According to that chart, they can’t even have a contrast collar with a solid white jersey, which would seem to lend some credence to the argument that this is done for the big guys to produce a free white jersey. With budget constraints a huge issue at the high school level, they have been forced to jump into bed with anyone (soft drink companies, software manufacturers, etc) who promise them a few extra dollars. I could definitely see a large overseas apparel manufacturer coming to the NFHS with a big money offer and them passing the rule for that reason.

    • Matt13 | September 29, 2011 at 1:00 am |

      Here’s the thing. NFHS is a voluntary consortium. Several states do not belong to it. NFHS has no authority that allows it to mandate procurement from particular manufacturers, so your worst-case scenario won’t happen. States will leave NFHS before they allow that much power to it.

  • Dumb Guy | September 28, 2011 at 8:17 am |

    Sometimes the best part of old photos is the stuff that is NOT the subject. I love the “Gentlemen please remove your hats” sign. I wish I could make out all the signs behind the ladies.

    • Connie | September 28, 2011 at 8:51 am |

      “… Oh baby, check out this completely amazing early -1940s duckpin bowling photo. That’s one of many amazing archival images – some sports-related, some not – that Jason Bernard found here. …”

      Fabulous archive. Thanks, Jason! And you’re right, DG, that sign is so sweet.

    • Ed Hughes | September 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

      Agreed that the most interesting parts of the old photos are often in the background. Two comments on that bowling photo:
      1. It looks like almost none of the ladies are actually wearing bowling shoes.
      2. The sign in question is aimed at the wrong audience–a gentleman already knows to remove his hat indoors!

    • Jim Mellett | September 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm |

      Those images are probably from the collection of Pittsburgh photographer Teenie Harris. More of his images can be found here

      Search Pirates or Forbes Field to find some sports related images of Maz, Dave Cash, Al Oliver, Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Josh Gibson, and a great image of the 1959 All Star Game.

      • Bernard | September 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm |

        You’re absolutely correct, Jim. I first came across the Teenie Harris archive on the CMOA’s website, and pretty much fell in love with it in its entirety.

      • Jim Vilk | September 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm |

        Al Oliver? That’s my 2nd favorite Pirate of all time! Well, maybe tied for 2nd with Kent Tekulve…
        Thanks for the tip.

  • Phil Hecken | September 28, 2011 at 8:31 am |

    what bronco’s eyeblack?

    and as far as the flyers wearing that quakers-esque sweater…that thought has been around since the 2010 matchup was announced (yes, that one shows the quakers, but i remember seeing “flyers” in the same style)

    would be sweet though

  • Teebz | September 28, 2011 at 8:49 am |

    So the Devils are only wearing “important” anniversaries? They wore their 10th anniversary patch, and they wore a 25th anniversary patch. Kudos for not marking every single five-year period with a patch, Lou Lamiorello. Well done!

  • JimWa | September 28, 2011 at 9:06 am |

    The new Football Cardinals jersey never looked so good.

    • Payton | September 28, 2011 at 9:09 am |

      I totally agree. We should look deeper into this case.

    • jdreyfuss | September 28, 2011 at 11:51 am |

      That girl looks like she’s about fifteen boys. Settle down.

      • JimWa | September 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm |

        I disagree. 1) The pigtails make her look younger 2) She has a camera (not just a phone) … nobody under the age of 20 does that anymore.

        • AnthonyTX | September 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm |

          I agree. I initially thought, “Gee, she’s young!” Then, upon further investigation, I’d say she’s in her early 20s… 18 at least (which makes it slightly less creepy).

  • Natron | September 28, 2011 at 9:20 am |

    According tot he Wild’s equipment manager, the NHL will be adding numbers to the front of the helmets this season.

    • The Jeff | September 28, 2011 at 9:23 am |

      That seems totally unnecessary.

      /but it’s hockey so who cares?

      • Teebz | September 28, 2011 at 10:05 am |

        You do, Jeff. You just don’t know it yet. ;o)

    • Mike Engle | September 28, 2011 at 9:56 am |

      I’ve never seen a game shot of this, but I’m predicting it’s going to look like shit. There just isn’t enough good real estate for front numbers on hockey helmets. It looks fine on the football Giants and Steelers, but these hockey “front” numbers look more like Skycam numbers.

    • Ry Co 40 | September 28, 2011 at 10:12 am |
      • Rob S | September 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

        Of course, that was just a slight modification of an existing element (the model number of the helmet, 366)… but it made me smile back when I first noticed it back then.

    • Shane | September 28, 2011 at 10:20 am |

      Wow, those look horrible. What’s the point?

      At least it’s not the Sabres or Stars doing it though, already having NoOF.

      • The Jeff | September 28, 2011 at 10:23 am |

        According to the guy that posted those, it’ll be league-wide.

        • Ry Co 40 | September 28, 2011 at 10:30 am |

          i’m willing to bet it doesn’t happen. there’s really no point or need for front numbers… unless of course reebok picked up the decal contract…

        • Shane | September 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

          Frigging hell. Are they going to start putting numbers on the breezers as well? Maybe one on each sock?

        • Jeff P | September 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

          Pants would make more sense than helmets would. The NHL could nix the team logo on ’em and put a number there instead.

          It would be equally pointless, but at least it wouldn’t look utterly shitty.

  • Pete W. | September 28, 2011 at 9:29 am |

    An all white jersey rule change screams collusion but I’m wondering how well it will be enforced. I just don’t see a high school AD outside of the urban districts following this regulation. Their budgets are more robust than the inner city schools and thus will still go for a more forward thinking home uniform. Where this really stinks is the gigantic school districts with very little money to spend on unis.

  • teenchy | September 28, 2011 at 9:29 am |

    Excellent analysis of the NFHS rule by Shane, and good on Paul for finally getting it out there.

    I imagine that it wouldn’t take much to find out who’s on the NFHS Board of Directors. A little digging might even reveal (gasp!) some corporate ties.

    Lately I’ve noticed a lot of online buzz around sports uniforms; it seems like everyone and their brother is getting in on the act. Eventually they all refer back to Uni Watch in some way. Goes to show that Paul and Phil do the legwork to separate fact from opinion and make this site ever more authoritative. Thanks for that.

    • DanKing9 | September 28, 2011 at 10:29 am |

      2011-12 NFHS Soccer Rules Committee:
      Chairman: Dr. Joe Manjone (Silverhill, Alabama)
      Section 1 Representative: William Johnson (Marshfield, Massachusetts)
      Section 2 Representative: Darren Bilberry (Lexington, Kentucky)
      Section 3 Representative: Chip Fuller (Maryville, Tennessee)
      Section 4 Representative: Beth Sauser (Bloomington, Illinois)
      Section 5 Representative: David Maier (Bismarck, North Dakota)
      Section 6 Representative: Peter Contreras (Austin, Texas)
      Section 7 Representative: Dawain Wheatley (Heber City, Utah)
      Section 8 Representative: Patrick Duffy (Portland, Oregon)
      NFHS Coaches Representative: Ron Pietila (Chula Vista, California)
      NFHS Officials Representative: Douglas Epps (La Vista, Nebraska)
      NFHS Publisher: Robert B. Gardner, Executive Director
      NFHS Rule Editor: Mark Koski, Assistant Directo

      • Scott J | September 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm |

        Regrettably, this is of a piece with how the NFHS operates. This past spring the organization ruled that, effective immediately, all HS field players must wear some form of protective eyewear. Oddly, in its press release announcing the rule, the NFHS acknowledged that eye injuries in the sport were “rare” – yet nonetheless hailed its decision as “the right step.”

        A couple of salient points the press release neglected to mention, however, were (1) that the NFHS took the action in the face of its own Rules Committee’s unanimous (9-0) vote opposing the mandate; and (2) the mandate’s immediate implementation violated the organization’s own requirement that rule changes not take effect until the second season after their adoption; and, most significantly, (3) that every single sanctioning body in the world has BANNED the type of “protective” eyewear whose use the NFHS explicitly endorses (lacrosse-style cage goggles), precisely because it poses a safety hazard to players. In a nutshell, the NFHS mandate decreases player safety all in the name of increasing player safety. Given the entirety of these circumstances, it’s by no means a huge logical leap to infer that corporate influence had a hand in that particular NFHS decision.

        You may note that the NFHS website’s “Contact Us” feature allowing you to e-mail the organization with questions says that it will “try to provide you with a timely response.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for that, though.

        • BJ | September 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm |

          I don’t know where you got that information, but I haven’t been able to find anything close to that in the NFHS soccer rules. In fact, this is “Rule 4” from the NFHS:

          Hard casts or splints must be padded with closed cell foam at least ½ inch thick. Facemask may be worn by player with facial injury. It must be molded to the face with no protrusions; player must have a medical release at the game site signed by a physician for use of a facemask. Ankle braces of metal must be inside socks — non-metal may be worn outside.

          FIFA’s Law 4: Referee’s discretion — check for safety and require padding if cast is hard or dangerous. Soft facemask permitted if approved by referee

      • Rich Grady | September 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

        Unfortunately, many of these people are athletic administrators with no particular background in soccer. Beth Sauser is in charge of soccer for the IHSA (IL), but she is a basketball person by training. Illinois has had a number of basketball related uniform controversies over the years. Typical administrators making rules to solve a problem that does not really exist.

        • Jeff P | September 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm |

          I wonder if a couple less than wealthy school districts going together in a class action suit would have any effect.

          Hell, just getting it as far as discovery ought to yield some interesting (and potentially very embarrassing) info.

  • Andy | September 28, 2011 at 9:35 am |

    I know we love to hate on Nike, but it’s actually popular in the lacrosse world to have colored heads, to the point that people actually buy dye and dye them multi colors, usually the team colors, or something totally outlandish like the Nike head just to stand out. See:

    Lacrosse is a team sport, but almost more so than many other team sports, it’s a team of individuals with egos. It’s similar to basketball in that one person can control the entire game for their team and a great individual effort can win a game in some cases. There are plenty of lacrosse players that would love this outlandish head just to differentiate themselves from their teammates or other teams.

  • MG12 | September 28, 2011 at 9:51 am |

    It is interesting that the 2012 Winter Classic Philadelphia jersey was leaked on a “knock-off” website.

    I have been known to search around on these “knock-off” sites, sure I feel a little dirty for considering the purchase of a fake jersey, but it’s tough to shell out $80-$120 for the real thing when you can get something virtually identical for $20-$30.

    The thing that I find so amazing is how quickly these knock-off sites have the new jersey designs available for sale. Nike unvieled the new French national team soccer jersey and one day later a knock-off site had it available. I purchased one and had it on my back in 2 weeks. When compared to the real-deal, it looks identical.

    Am I less of a fan for buying a knock-off? If the knock-off wasn’t available I wouldn’t buy one at all.

    • Phil Hecken | September 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

      just out of curiosity…what would happen if you didn’t buy one at all?

      would you still be less of a fan?

      • Lloyd Davis | September 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm |

        “just out of curiosity…what would happen if you didn’t buy one at all?

        would you still be less of a fan?”

        Apparently, pace Jerry Seinfeld, it’s not just about cheering for laundry anymore, it’s about cheering while dressed in a facsimile, reasonable (and legal) or otherwise, of said laundry.

    • Lloyd Davis | September 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm |

      You’re looking for permission to do business with crooks. I hope no one here gives it.

      • Jeff P | September 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm |

        If the legitimate vendors didn’t jack up the prices to way beyond the top level many consumers are willing to pay, then this is what happens. They brought it on themselves, they’ll get no sympathy from me.

        Economists can model this stuff. People do pay a premium to do what they see as the right thing, but despite the knockoffs and the real things having about the same actual cost, the real things have prices that are higher by, in some cases, an entire order of magnitude. They got greedy, and it bit them in the ass.

        • Phil Hecken | September 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm |

          still though, the whole *problem* could be solved by not actually HAVING to own (and show off) a designer piece of polyester

          granted, hockey fans aren’t typical and apparently not wearing an officially licensed team sweater is akin to hating america (or canada), but really…

          just don’t buy it…are you really not going to be asked to sit on the bench and be the backup netminder if you’re NOT wearing the team gear in the seats?

      • The Jeff | September 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

        Remember, it’s cool to DIY (aka create a knockoff for yourself) a jersey, but don’t dare pay someone else for a knockoff…

        *rolls eyes*

        • Jim Vilk | September 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm |

          A DIY is a piece of art. It’s made…from the heart.

          (wasn’t trying to rhyme there)

          Although, yeah, same end result: the team doesn’t get money from it. But it’s different.

  • Thompson | September 28, 2011 at 9:55 am |

    I like the Super Bowl host committee logo. But as a Jets fan, I refuse to call the new stadium “Giants Stadium.” We’re equal partners with the Giants in the new stadium, unlike Giants Stadium, and the name should reflect that. As a result, I’m still calling it The Meadowlands.

  • Gordon Harvey | September 28, 2011 at 9:58 am |

    As a former soccer official for high school and club teams, this rule is BS. We never had issues with team differentiation unless the teams were color on color and then we made one team change shirts.

  • John | September 28, 2011 at 10:14 am |

    RE: UNO Mavericks hockey

    “We have a new logo that’s a DOWNGRADE from our previous one? Redesign everything and slap that sucker where you can!”

    Seriously, what was wrong with this. It had the greatest secondary logo ever.

    • The Jeff | September 28, 2011 at 10:26 am |

      Sure, but now they can have Family Game Nights(tm). Just wait till they unveil the Scrabble and Monopoly alt jerseys.

  • coogrfan | September 28, 2011 at 10:31 am |

    A couple of Houston Cougars notes:

    1) Last Saturday night, for reasons that remain unclear, the Coogs wore red socks for the first time ever in their game against Georgia State.

    2)The Coogs have changed their nose bumper decal back to the version they used prior to the 2010 season; UH is also awarding helmet stickers this year (to the best of my knowledge another first for UH).

  • Jim Vilk | September 28, 2011 at 10:51 am |

    That photo archive Jason found has some nice uni-realted stuff (and non-uni-related, too).

    I bet Paul likes these football uniforms:
    *Maybe* this one…

    Always good to see a 1960 Pirates photo:

    And, since the Civic Arena is being demolished, it’s only fitting to show a shot of its construction:
    RIP, Igloo.

  • Ricko | September 28, 2011 at 10:54 am |

    Is Trax ecstatic?

    Kansas State vs. Baylor has been elevated to a 3:30 EDT broadcast game (as opposed to cable or satellite) Saturday.

    Wildcats, FREE.
    RGIII (who has more TD passes than incompletions), FREE.
    Purple, FREE.

    Let us hope Baylor wears their gold helmets rather than go Q-Tip-headed.

  • CaneAlum07 | September 28, 2011 at 10:54 am |

    Really? its the big bad corporations fault? ugh…

    • The Jeff | September 28, 2011 at 11:04 am |

      Maybe it’s not the big corp’s fault… Perhaps it’s an attempt to kill US soccer entirely. Force all these schools that can’t afford it it to need new uniforms… so they just scrap the programs. Less kids play soccer, and in a few years what little tiny bit of popularity that the MLS has now fades away as the league can’t find any talent.

      • Fred | September 28, 2011 at 11:51 am |

        ???? Okayyyyy.

        • The Jeff | September 28, 2011 at 11:53 am |

          I wasn’t exactly being serious there Fred

        • Phil Hecken | September 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm |

          no, but your heart was in the right place

      • The Ghost of Ross Gload | September 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm |

        Well, the problem in this scenario is that MLS has already recognized that the high school-college-MLS model doesn’t work for soccer, so they’ve all started Development Academies and Junior programs to find prospects at an earlier age and get them better training.

        I suspect MLS sees anything that makes NFHS less relevant to the sport as a good thing. Next stop, the NCAA.

    • jdreyfuss | September 28, 2011 at 11:59 am |

      Until I see some credible evidence of corruption, even as attenuated as board members having ties to major corporations, I’m going to assume this is a bad rule conceived through incompetence that has an unintended consequence.

      • mmwatkin | September 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

        A millions times this.

        I highly doubt there is an underlying evil plan to put small uniform suppliers out of business.

        The NFHS is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist and over-thinking the solution (gee, imagine that).

  • MPowers1634 | September 28, 2011 at 10:58 am |

    As a HS Baseball/Softball umpire as well as Football referee, I susually stand by the NFHS rulings regarding uniforms, but this seems unnecessary.

  • BrianC | September 28, 2011 at 11:01 am |

    “Eagle-eyed Andy McKechnie spotted the Flyers doing a photo shoot that involved a home jersey and a road helmet, and David Ryan noticed the same thing in another shot. Just a mix-up, or a hint of things to come?”

    They did that at the Olympics (white helmets with dark jerseys, dark helmets with white jerseys) and it looked stupid.

    Why do they need two set of helmets anyway? Why can’t they just wear colored helmets with both unis?

    • Ry Co 40 | September 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

      “Why can’t they just wear colored helmets with both unis?”

      didn’t you JUST say it looked stupid?

      • Lloyd Davis | September 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm |

        @Ry Co 40: That was my take. But maybe BrianC means that wearing the reverse with both uniforms was what looked stupid?

        Still, it seems to me that the corollary would be: wearing a dark helmet with both sets of unis would still look stupid half the time.

    • walter | September 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm |

      I can’t get behind a white helmet with a dark uniform. A hockey helmet, by its very nature, looks like an afterthought; it has to do with seeing the helmet as an accessory, not as a piece of the uniform (unlike football). That said, teams shouldn’t automatically go to their darkest color for the helmet. See the WHA Jets (red helmet-blue sweater) and the Penguins of the 80s (yellow helmet-white sweater).

  • Will S | September 28, 2011 at 11:07 am |

    No need for a 2nd jersey for most high school sports in many cases. Way back when I played high school soccer (& hockey, etc.) in my city there were around 8 teams in my city and they differentiated themselves enough in colour for no one to need a second jersey.
    Maybe the team that won the city (or in bigger cities some sort of district?) and was going onto district then province or state might need a 2nd jersey even they could probably get by with white ‘pinnies’.

    Not sure if it’s the case now, but way back when I was in high school you didn’t keep the jerseys and the school used them until they were falling apart.

    2nd jersey is just a waste of tax payers money.

  • Boomtown | September 28, 2011 at 11:17 am |

    As a Flyers fan, I personally love how the white helmet looks with the home orange – it would be a good look to have that helmet with both jerseys.

    The tangerine color on the uniforms, however…

    • Ricko | September 28, 2011 at 11:27 am |

      Orange helmets would look a little the
      Philadelphia Flying Motrin,
      wouldn’t it?

      • Boomtown | September 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm |

        Oh, orange helmets would not be a good look whatsoever. I wasn’t too clear – I was saying that the tangerine looks OK from an aesthetic standpoint, but I’d prefer they go back to the darker, almost red orange from the 70’s.

        For comparison:

        • Ricko | September 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm |

          I knew what you meant, was just imagining another, um…”option.”

        • Boomtown | September 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm |

          What’s your opinion of the leaked “knockoff”? Curious to get an outsider’s perspective.

        • Ry Co 40 | September 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

          it’s not “leaked” if it’s from a knock-off web site. remember the “leaked” WinniJets jerseys that don’t look like the real jerseys? exactly. “leaked” jerseys usually come from the equipment staff, or from front office cell phone pics…

          also, agreed the flyers look better with white helmets over orange jerseys

      • Hank-SJ | September 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm |

        The Motrin angle would have worked a few years back. The Wachovia Center, er, Wells Fargo Center, used to have Motrin signage on the risers of the lower level stairs.

  • Jim Vilk | September 28, 2011 at 11:19 am |

    Pablo Sandoval bunted left-handed because he couldn’t find his right-handed batting helmet

    Even though I only bat left-handed, I would wear a double-flap helmet. You have to worry about more than getting hit by a pitch…you can get plunked in the ear on your way to first, courtesy of an errant throw by an infielder.

    • Mike Engle | September 28, 2011 at 11:33 am |

      And from the same article: “Switch-hitters have two helmets in the big leagues. One for batting left-handed, the other for right-handed.” (Something like that, I’m going from memory here.)
      Um, most of them. Cue up pictures of Orlando Hudson and Shane Victorino right…about…now.

  • Craig Gummer | September 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm |

    Dear Baltimore Orioles, do the math: You started in 1992, so 2011 was your 20th season in Camden Yards, not 2012. That’s just lazy and contrived.

    • scott | September 28, 2011 at 1:21 pm |

      Seems they are celebrating an anniversary, at least with their season ticket holders, so I’m not sure why you’d describe it as “lazy and contrived.” Maybe the Orioles did something this season for the 20th season at the park, too?

    • walter | September 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm |

      That thing looks like it was designed on a typewriter: D-

    • JimWa | September 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm |

      Craig – when would/will/did you celebrate your 20th wedding anniversary? During your 20th year of marriage, or once you’ve actually been married for 20 years?

    • JimWa | September 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

      Here’s a fun idea – how about from this point moving forward, any anniversary patches for stadiums have to be produced within 12 months of the opening of that structure?

  • MPowers1634 | September 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm |

    That’s like when Newman was going to celebrate Y2K welcoming everyone to the “Newmanium”/Kramanium.

  • Zach Rieger | September 28, 2011 at 12:17 pm |


    The green dot on the back of the Iowa helmet was to support former player Brett Greenwood who is in a coma recovering at the UI Hospital after collapsing at a high school field after being cut from the NFL…More info in the 2nd Graph in this article

    • Ricko | September 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm |

      “Get Well” stickers now?

      (Phil’s phrase, and it’s a good one).

  • Mike Engle | September 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    So much going on here. Rare is it to see Barry Bonds wearing #7 (#24 was unavailable at first, so #7 is a really lame James Bond joke), plus I’ve never seen anybody swing a sledgehammer like an on-deck bat, and I didn’t know Bonds caught the pillbox hat era.

    • Phil Hecken | September 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm |

      notice…even then he choked up

  • Scott N | September 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    The NFHS has been mandating rules changes in uniforms for years. In the past few years, they’ve mandated white home basketball jersies (no more gold, yellow or gray at home) and mandated that road football jersies be solid white. The football rationale came from the supposed possible confusion of officials in a pile of players looking to recover a fumble. The refs would have trouble telling a player in a solid blue jersey from one which had a blue yoke. This even extended to logos, so Fort Scott High School (Kansas) had to buy new road uniforms for no other reason than that the Tiger paw had to be moved from the shoulder to the sleeve on an entirely-white jersey.

    It’s my understanding that volleyball teams will eventually be affected as one of them will be required to wear white (except the libero). This even though the teams always stay on their own side of the net. I could see mandating a change set if two teams wore the same color but I can’t imagine that volleyball officials get confused if one team is wearing red and the other blue or green.

    Now as to why they aren’t mandating this for high school baseball and softball teams — most programs in Southeast Kansas have one uniform set — I have no idea.

    • jdreyfuss | September 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

      One thing I’ve been wondering this whole time is how much authority the NFHS has. I thought their rule changes are generally taken as suggestions and don’t have to be implemented by the individual state HSAAs.

      • DanKing9 | September 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm |

        The NFHS is the compromised of all the state athletic associations so they have all the power unfortunately. The states can make more rules or rules more strict but they at least have to follow the rules laid down by the NFHS, kind of like actual states and US government.

  • Ricko | September 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm |

    Tackiest joke I’ve heard so far this week.

    Gophers will wear a yellow helmet sticker at Michigan Saturday in support of coach Jerry Kill. No logo or initials, but in the fourth quarter it loses its grip and falls to the ground.

    • Lloyd Davis | September 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

      Hmmm, so would Tiki Barber say the C in cancer stands for comedy?

      • Ricko | September 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

        Hope u aren’t shooting the messenger.

        • Lloyd Davis | September 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm |

          Not at all. Please be assured of that.

  • Rob H. | September 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm |

    Here’s a screen grab of Raymond Berry in 1985:

    I guess Belichick didn’t pioneer the Patriot head coach hoodie look.

    • Lloyd Davis | September 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

      I can’t find my copy of Emily Post. If you’re wearing the hoodie, should the cap go under or on top of the hood?

      • jdreyfuss | September 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm |

        I think it depends on whether you consider the sweatshirt to be outerwear or not.

        • Lloyd Davis | September 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

          Also, not surprisingly, the wearer must consider whether the meal is starting with salad or soup.

  • Tom V. | September 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

    Reebok to pay $25M for unsubstantiated claims about its footwear.

    Now, wasn’t UA’s Maryland uniforms supposed to be like a nuclear explosion or something?

  • Joe O. | September 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm |

    As a high school football official the rule changes have to do with one bad apple spoiling the bunch. NFHS Football’s rule has been on the books for a few years and goes into force next year and affects both home and road jerseys. Basically what happened is teams started pushing the envelope with their white jerseys. One local team introduced a “white” home jersey that had only white on their shoulders and the rest was gold. What happens when they play a team who’s road color is gold? You end up with jerseys that are nearly identical.

    • jdreyfuss | September 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm |

      Then they should mandate that the main body as well as a certain percentage (say 67%) be white, not that the whole jersey has to be solid white. The solid white results in the unintended consequences we see here.

  • JimWa | September 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm |

    If I were a HS soccer coach, my team WOULD come out with all white jerseys. No school name, no numbers, no nothing. Of course, if I’m told numbers are required, OF COURSE I would add them.

    In white.

    (yes, I know it was done with names in the NHL … no doubt that’s where my brainstorm started from)

    • Mike Engle | September 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm |

      Costco. White undershirts. Done.

  • Kevin | September 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |

    Full Jersey/Helmet tribute at George Clinkscale funeral. The former TU linebacker died in a church sponsored boxing event.

  • Pat | September 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm |

    If the nfhs is in the back pocket of the big corporations why do they regulate things like manufacture logo size?

  • JimWa | September 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm |

    Is it uniform news to mention that Ozzie Guillen was introduced as the new Marlins manager – without a jersey in the presentation?

    Also unusual: When’s the last time a team introduced its new manager to the public before the previous “permanent” manager concluded his tenure?

    • Christopher F. | September 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm |

      I’m trying to think of any times a current manager said he was retiring before/during a season…

      • JimWa | September 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

        Lou Pinella last year, but Quade wasn’t made “permanent” until the offseason.

        • Phil Hecken | September 28, 2011 at 5:25 pm |

          what about torre/mattingly?

        • JimWa | September 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm |

          Oooohhh … good one!

  • Kerry P | September 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm |

    LSU will have pink “ribbons” on their helmets this Saturday versus Kentucky according to the second part of the final item in this afternoon’s Baton Rouge Business Report – DAily Report PM.

  • Casey | September 28, 2011 at 5:54 pm |

    Looks like the NHL is going to have their teams wear numbers on the FRONT of the helmets this year. Not sure what the point of this is.

  • Jason | September 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm |

    The NFHS rule changes affect many sports. Football home teams will have to wear predominatly dark, and away teams predominately white beginning about that same time. The home-whites also apply to basketball.

    A PowerPoint on football changes:

  • buttonpush | September 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    I kinda love these jerseys and socks.

    • Phil Hecken | September 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm |

      didn’t those guys just knock ryco’s invaders out of the beer league finals?

    • interlockingtc | September 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm |

      Those are really terrific looking.

  • buttonpush | September 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    Rarely do like a home (white) hockey jersey as much as do the road… making an exception in this case. Sweet stripes.

    • Jeff P | September 29, 2011 at 2:11 am |

      There are a few I like a hell of a lot more than the home. The Rangers, for instance. The blueshirts’ blue is unexciting, but the white is spectacular.

  • Johnny O | September 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm |

    Brewer TV announcers, and other members of FS Wisconsin are wearing bow ties for the game tonight because “…hopefully it will be a special occasion”. Sa-Weet

  • MPowers1634 | September 28, 2011 at 8:55 pm |

    Fuck yeah:

    Michael Irvin just got me amped!

    Nothing is goona change though :(

    • Phil Hecken | September 28, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
      • Kyle Allebach | September 28, 2011 at 11:12 pm |


        What pumps you up more than bad grammar?

  • Michael Koch | September 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm |

    Check out the new Buckeye hockey jerseys –

  • Phil Hecken | September 29, 2011 at 12:03 am |

    how ’bout dem aO’s????

    now…c’mon tampa bay!!!!!

  • Phil Hecken | September 29, 2011 at 12:06 am |

    and just like that….



    • MPowers1634 | September 29, 2011 at 1:23 am |

      Those series should be very interesting!

  • JimWa | September 29, 2011 at 12:30 am |

    There’s a bunch of third world country baseball fans out there that about to celebrate new outfits for the fall.