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You Won’t Be Seeing This Jersey on the Field Again

Paul here. I’m returning to the site today, then webmaster John Ekdahl will have tomorrow’s content, and I’ll be back for good on Monday.

So: The controversy regarding Vanderbilt’s “Anchor Down” jerseys was resolved yesterday. In case you’re not familiar with the backstory, here it is: Except for the military academies, the NCAA no longer allows SOBs (slogans on back). This came up about two weeks ago, when USF announced plans to use “The Team” on its nameplates and then backtracked a day later after learning of the SOB prohibition.

So there was lots of curiosity and confusion when Vanderbilt unveiled a set of jerseys with an “Anchor Down” SOB just prior to Thursday night’s season-opening game against Temple. Weren’t they going to be penalized for the use of the slogan?

Yes, as it turns out. Referee Ken Williamson announced that Vandy would lose one timeout per quarter. But then Vanderbilt officials showed Williamson an email printout, which apparently indicated that Vandy had sought and received permission to wear the slogan. So Williamson restored the lost timeout and the game proceeded.

That left people with a lot of questions, the biggest of which was why the NCAA would bother to have a rule if they weren’t going to enforce it.

That question was answered yesterday afternoon by SEC communications director Chuck Dunlap, who issued the following statement:

A miscommunication resulted in Vanderbilt wearing jerseys during its football game Thursday night that are not permissible under the NCAA football uniform regulations. Before production of the jerseys, Vanderbilt sought approval of the jersey design from the NCAA, which included the words “Anchor Down” on the back panel. The NCAA responded with written approval of the design as presented and Vanderbilt proceeded with the jersey production, assuming the approval was applicable to the slogan as well as the colors and overall design in the submitted layout.

NCAA football regulations do not permit the use of slogans on jerseys. Vanderbilt was originally penalized for the jerseys during the game and after being shown the written correspondence, the head referee also interpreted the correspondence to mean the slogan had been approved. Vanderbilt has been notified it cannot wear the slogan on its jersey for future games and has agreed to comply.

In other words, the NCAA approved the base design but not the SOB, and Vanderbilt officials and Williamson both misinterpreted that. It would be great to see Vanderbilt’s original submission and the NCAA’s response, just so we could see the full chain of (mis)communication here, but that’s obviously not going to happen (unless someone in the Vandy athletics dept. wants to leak something my way, hint-hint).

Lost in all the hubbub is the fact that the black-on-black “Anchor Down” lettering looked like shit, and that Vanderbilt lost, 37-7, thereby reinforcing the lesson I always like to remind people of: If you dress like a clown and win, you look like a winner; if you dress like a clown and lose, you just look like a clown.

Meanwhile, wondering why Mississippi State gets to wear “Hail State” on the front of its jersey? It’s apparently because that slogan is on the front, not the back.

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This is pretty cool: UCF and Penn state are facing off today in Dublin, and the Knights are marking the occasion by adding some shamrocks and a pot of gold to their helmets. No word yet on whether Penn State is planning anything similar, but I think it’s safe to say that any gesture from the Nittany Lions would be much more subtle — a small shamrock decal on the back of the helmet, say.

As long as we talking college football, here’s a bunch of additional news on that front: New uniforms for Kennesaw State. “Looks like Tour de France meets NASCAR,” says Douglas Ford. … NC State is retiring Mario Williams’s number (thanks, Phil). … Here’s a cool look at all of Florida State’s helmets through the years. … UTSA wore mono-white last night (thanks, Phil). … Speaking of mono-white, that’s what Ohio will be wearing today. … Blackout uni on tap today for Missouri. … Houston is adding memorial decals for former players Robert Newhouse and Sam Hairston. ”¦ New uniforms for Long Beach Poly. ”¦ NIU has yet another new uni design, this time in solid white (thanks, Phil).

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Patch reminder: If you haven’t yet purchased a Uni Watch 15th-anniversary patch, there’s no time like the present. And for those of you who’ve already bought one, have you sewn it onto anything? If so, please send me some photos — I’d love to see how the patch looks on your jersey, jacket, or whatever.

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Baseball News: The Angels wore 1970s throwbacks last night. Additional photos here. ”¦ New logo and uniforms for the 2015 Holiday League All-Star Game (from Kevin Olivett).

NFL News: Here’s a bunch of interesting and entertaining NFL maps (from Kyle Hanks). … Bears safety Ryan Mundy is considering legal action against Schutt after suffering a cut to his head during a preseason game (from Tommy Turner). ”¦ Wayne Koehler notes that the Bucs wore four different uni combinations in their four preseason games.

Grab Bag: New CFL uniforms for the Calgary Stampeders. … Speaking of the CFL, the RedBlacks and Alouettes went color vs. color — or is that colour vs. colour? — last night (thanks, Phil). … Abercrombie & Fitch is removing the logos from its clothing. Let’s hope that starts a trend that extends to the uni-verse (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ New logo for Hershey, and some folks think it’s crap — literally. ”¦ I couldn’t find a photo showing this, but several readers say that there was a “Share a Coke with Tony” bottle of Coke on the table during Tony Stewart’s press conference yesterday — the one where he was talking about, you know, the death of another human being. Douchebags. ”¦ Totally love this tag, which comes from this vintage varsity jacket. ”¦ PGA caddies wore memorial black caps yesterday in memory of Angela Bennett, the wife of Matt Kuchar caddie Lance Bennett, who died on Wednesday (from Richard Stover).

Comments (47)

    I guess ten years later and one false resume not withstanding, George O’Leary finally gets to coach the shamrocks after all, for one game at least.

    I tweeted this out to ESPN yesterday, but the 2009 FSU helmet they have should be as shown here:


    Maybe Paul can get his colleagues over there to update it.

    Otherwise, that is a really cool look at the history of FSU’s helmet, especially the different versions for O, D, and 2 way players. Had not seen that before.

    I suppose technically, UCF’s helmets have one four-leaf clover and one shamrock, in addition to the pot of gold outline and some gold coins.

    Ugh… instead of banning gradient numbers and slogans on jerseys, the NCAA should ban light gold as a “dark” color. This game would be far more watchable with Penn State in the blue jerseys.

    Ugh, a pot of gold? Why not just go the whole hog a toss in a Leprechaun? I know that sort of paddy-whackery goes down well in the US, but it usually induces eye-rolling on this side of the Atlantic ….

    … Not to mention the confusion of the shamrock with the four-leaf clover, like the Hallmark decorations you’ll see taped to the windows of “Irish” bars in the US… Now a harp might be OK…

    I really like the Stampeeders jersey and love their font! I guess I’m a sucker for the line through western style fonts. The pants… I bet white with a black or red stripe would have made it look better (possibly) and I can forgive them for Calgary on the stripe.

    The Red/Pewter and White/pewter or White/White combination would look great from the Bucs if they could just do something about those numbers.

    Found a full video of the Tony Stewart presser on Youtube, and it’s not exactly high-definition, but the bottle’s definitely there: link

    link showing Stewart and the bottle as the camera zooms in on him. The bottle ends up out of frame for almost the entire time he’s talking, though.

    As for the Abercrombie bit, maybe teens have finally smartened up and realized that it’s a brand for douchebags, by douchebags. This is the same company, after all, whose CEO has said he doesn’t want to see his clothes on ugly people (and that’s just for starters).

    Actually, we will see these jerseys again, but they will be NOB. As it states in numerous articles. “It’s an easy fix. We’re going to take ‘Anchor Down’ off because we clearly have to and we’re fine with that. We realize now that that wasn’t right. We’re going to put the last names on the jersey and it’s all good. It’s just a flap you take off and replace.”


    Oh, and one last thing. #AnchorDown

    Regarding the Vandy “Anchor Down” controversy; just a sign of the ridiculous times. College football; once steeped in tradition has become a carnival of ridiculous costumes, catch frases and eye sores.
    I may be wrong, but the only big time programs I can think of that haven’t drank the koo-aid are USC and Penn State. Let’s hope they hold out for at least a little bit longer!

    If you dress like a clown and win, you look like a clown – a winning clown, but still a clown.

    If, for instance, the Detroit Lions wore pink tutus for a season had a great year and won the Super Bowl would you want them to keep wearing them for seasons to come? Decades down the road would you choose that uniform for a throwback?

    The longer something is done, the more OK with it people become. Tampa Bay’s creamsicle orange was hated by many in 1976, now fans are actually upset that the team isn’t allowed to wear it as a throwback. The Bengals tiger striped helmets were an abomination in 1981, now those helmets are the best part of their uniform.

    Plus, many sports fans (and players) are very superstitious. Ignoring that tutus likely violate NFL uniform rules, if the Lions were to win the Superbowl while wearing them, I guarantee that the fans would want them to keep doing it.

    The Bengals helmet wasn’t considered an “abomination” in 1981. It was considered “different” or non-traditional, but was generally well received.


    The “Holiday League” is, by its own website, a “promotional campaign” for a design studio. While its an interesting project that would probably make a fun article for spotlighting someone creating fictional jersey and team designs here on Uni Watch, I’m a little confused why its covered in the Ticker like its news about a real baseball league.

    So Vanderbilt got permission to make the jerseys, and then the NCAA said no to the slogan after the fact, then backedaled with some legalese that they hadn’t actually approved the slogan on the back?

    Clownish dressing nonwithstanding, the chumps at the NCAA just cost a team thousands of dollars in approving then banning a uniform.

    This is another example of why the SEC and other conferences need to secede from the NCAA. Their rules and their enforcement of the rules are ridiculous.

    Actually, Mississippi State had to scrap their planned jerseys with HAIL STATE on the front.

    I agree with the NCAA on this one. The only thing that belongs on the back of the uniforms (and ALL teams should be required to have them & TV numbers, even ND & USC & all the rest) is player names. This slogan trend is stupid enough when it’s on inside collars and everywhere else. Don’t need it looking stupid on visible parts of the uniforms as well.

    IMO it’s no different than twitter handles and hastags. No need for them all over the uniforms or fields cluttering everything up. It’s bad enough some league want to deface the uniforms with ads. We don’t need slogans and all this other stuff all over as well.

    And as bad as that UCF game looked, I’ll always have any PSU & Alabama game as a “and one candidate” based on their opponents, UCLA-Virginia is much worse. Virginia in orange over blue, I hate light color over dark pants. UCLA still insisting they don’t know facemasks can still be team colors & have their UCLA stripes still truncated. And they downgraded back to that awful number font yet decide to keep the white pants on the road. If you insist on going back to the older look at least wear the gold pants full time & burn those ugly white pants!

    Today’s rant:

    1. “Wayne Koehler notes that the Bucs wore four different uni combinations in their four preseason games….” And looked ugly in all of them. I don’t mind the oversized logo so much as the way-too-busy design and alarm-clock font. On the bright side, however, the Titans are no longer the ugliest team in the league.

    2. Mono-whites. On the whole, a good look for most teams. Although the NFL finds a way to screw it up. Would love to see the Cardinals back in these whites…


    …instead of that high-school look they have now.

    3. The Florida State helmet slideshow is great. Would love to see a similar treatment for Oregon football uniforms. Except when they got to 2009, it would start going on and on and on and on. Is there enough room in Cyberspace for all those?

    4. Love the new UCLA Clarendon font. But they do need to fix the shoulder stripes. LSU did.

    While when daydreaming about fixing all the NFL uniforms, I generally have the Cardinals in red pants, I have to admit the photo you posted would work. (as long as their facemasks were red or black).


    I found 2 more games that are nice candidates for my “and one”. Notre Dame/Rice and Alabama/West Virginia. Have I mentioned Alabama, Penn State, and Notre Dame are some of my least favorite looks not just in the NCAA but in all of sports? Combine them with Rice and UCLA going white over white and WVa going stormtrooper I now have less joy in the return of football season.
    In an era where teams spend more than our national debt to have all kinds of stupid matte and chrome helmet designs with 100,000,000 different decal combinations it’s OK to have facemasks in team colors and wear team colored pants with your road white uniforms. Really, it is. It won’t end the universe to do this.

    I’m curious as to why you dislike those uniforms. Too “traditional”? In Notre Dame’s case, is it the new metallic finish of theirselves and/or the fact it doesn’t match their pants?

    You are correct. I dislike the new costumes as well & hate every team feeling the need to out-Oregon Oregon with these stupid matte and chrome things.
    But I also hate the look of these traditional teams that are stuck in the 50’s. Alabama is my least favorite because of the helmet numbers, lack of TV numbers on the uniforms, and all white on the road. I let the facemasks slide because gray is at least in the elephant.
    ND needs to add names to the uniforms, bring back the shiny pants, add a logo or something to the helmet along with adding a blue facemask.
    Being born & raised in Pennsylvania I hate PSU’s for many other reasons besides just the stuck in the 1950’s looks but they need to add a helmet logo and drop the all white on the road.
    Look at how much nicer Florida State looked on the road last year compared to the horrible all white look they’re wearing today.
    Look how bad UCLA looked today in the all white (with gray facemasks) compared to 2001 when they had a MUCH better looking blue facemask.
    Look how much better USC looked before they switched back to the gray facemask.
    Hell look how much better USC looks without the gray facemasks and better uniform style.

    UCLA links didn’t work. Trying again. Look how much better they look in the gold pants & blue facemask. And full UCLA stripes too!!

    I think the line between NY team fandom and NE/boston fandom is basically new haven / Hartford (if you drew a line between the two )

    Indians/Royals throwback game looking good! Many of the Indians are wearing the pajamas though. Must be too much work for them.

    Seeing the FSU helmet in action for the first time. It rather looks like white gold; quite distinctive. Contrast it with a metallic yellow-gold helmet such as Notre Dame or Washington. I like all three.

    The Calgary Stampeders 3rds look similar to the ones they created in 1994 for the Labour Day game vs. Edmonton. Had anyone else designed a third for regular use (i.e. not a one off) before Calgary?

    Coachella Valley High School (in the Southern California desert) is dropping its mascot, but and belly dancer, but is keeping its team nickname, “Arabs.”

    Here’s the mascot they had been using: link

    Here’s the article:

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