Vanderbilt's "Anchor Down" uniforms aren't legal after all.
During the Commodores' 37-7 loss to Temple, Vanderbilt wore jerseys with the slogan "Anchor Down" on the back nameplates of the jerseys in place of players' names. It's against NCAA rules to have slogans on the backs of jerseys, and Vanderbilt was penalized a timeout per quarter, the punishment for the rule violation.
However, early in the second quarter, Vanderbilt showed referee Ken Williamson an email that purportedly said the jerseys had been approved. After looking at the email, Williamson rescinded the timeout penalty.
The SEC on Friday released a statement that said the uniforms were in fact illegal and the timeouts were rescinded as a result of a "miscommunication."
"A miscommunication resulted in Vanderbilt wearing jerseys during its football game Thursday night that are not permissible under the NCAA uniform regulations," the statement said. "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."
Earlier this month, South Florida wanted to replace players' names on the backs of its jerseys with "The Team." However, because of the no-slogan rule, those plans were squashed. Service academies are the only schools permitted to wear slogans on their jerseys.
Even if the NCAA permitted Vanderbilt's uniforms to be worn in the future, we're not sure the Commodores would wear them again. Vandy had seven turnovers in the drubbing against a team that was 2-10 last year. It was Temple's first road win against an SEC school since 1938.
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