Here's South Florida's 2014 roster. If you're used to identifying players by the names on their jerseys you're going to have to adapt and do a lot of memorization for the Bulls.
Instead of player names on the back of South Florida's jerseys, coach Willie Taggert wanted each jersey to simply say "The Team" above the back numbers. Here's the photo proof.
“THE TEAM” will be displayed above players’ numbers on the back of Bulls game jerseys this season in an effort to keep the squad a close-knit group it’s become since the start of the offseason.
“We’re all Bulls. We’re a team. We’re not going to have names on the back of our jerseys this year. We’re going to represent the Bulls, not to say that they won’t come back at some time, but our football team is focusing on the team,” Taggart said. “That’s where it needs to be and our guys have done a great job with that this entire offseason starting back in January. It’s all about the team and every decision we make is what’s best for our football team.”
However, As Voodoo Five astutely notes, the NCAA recently sent out a memo outlining what can and can't be on player jerseys. "The Team" does not fit within the parameters outlined in the memo. If South Florida goes with the idea and it's something that's not allowed by the NCAA, the Bulls could be charged a timeout a quarter.
And sure enough, ESPN's Brett McMurphy said Tuesday the school was going to go nameless this fall because of the NCAA rules.
USF will go with no names on back of jerseys. It’s against NCAA rules to use "The Team” on back pic.twitter.com/5SmMz6c1pK— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) August 19, 2014
If coach Taggart's motivation philosophy was going to work within NCAA guidelines it would have had to go over better than Bronco Mendenhall's attempt to remove names from BYU's jerseys did. Mendenhall wanted to put "Spirit," "Honor" and "Tradition" on the back of BYU's jerseys before the 2013 season. The players were not happy with the decision and after a player meeting to discuss the issue, the decision was reversed.
We also have to ask what the removal of names from the back of the jerseys actually does for a team. Sure, there's the adage that the team is greater than the individual and that a player should play for the logo on the front of the jersey rather than the name on the back. But will a player who is viewed to be selfish immediately change his ways because names have been removed from the jerseys?
South Florida was 2-10 last year.
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