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NCAA student-athletes allowed to express views on social justice via uniform patches

The NCAA approved rules to allow student-athletes in all sports to wear patches on their uniforms to express opinions on social justice.
Credit: AP
Wake Forest offensive lineman Justin Herron (75) plays against Boston College during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Boston, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Student-athletes views on social justice are going to become more visible in the upcoming year, literally.

On Thursday, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved rules to allow student-athletes in all sports to wear patches on their uniforms to support social justice issues. 

The new rule will now allow student-athletes two places on the uniform, one on the front and one on the back, to express support and voice their opinions, NCAA officials said.

This is a change for the NCAA, which previously did not allow patches expressing views on social issues before this upcoming season. Previously, only commemorative patches (names, mascots, nicknames, logos and marks) were allowed. The commemorative patches were intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes, the NCAA said.

Every player will not be allowed to wear their own individual patch. Instead, teams will be allowed to choose a patch or cause to support as a whole, with patches being identical for each player. Team members will not be required to wear a patch if they wish, officials said.

The NCAA joins the NBA, MLB and WNBA as major sports associations in the United States allowing its athletes to express their views through their uniforms.