The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule Thursday allowing for student athletes to wear patches on their uniforms to show support for causes, including social justice initiatives.
Under present rules, patches were banned or unaddressed in Division I sports. The panel made the decisions with the goal of allowing players to "express support and voice their opinions."
The new rule will allow athletes to have one patch on the front of their uniform, and one on the back. Players are also permitted to replace their last names on the back of their jerseys to honor a cause they support.
The patches are restricted to 2 ¼ inches in size and must be a "commemorative/memorial patch (names, mascots, nicknames, logos and marks) intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes."
"The second location is on the back of the uniform where the player name is traditionally located and, as authorized by the school or conference, will allow names/words intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes,” wrote Greg Johnson, NCAA associate director of communications. “The names or words may vary by team member."
The rule will be subject to conferences and school approval for each athlete.
This announcement came after similar rules were approved by the NBA, where they have allowed professional players to put a social justice statement on their jerseys in place of their last name once the league restarts.
Recent social justice movements regarding police brutality and systemic racism have sparked across the country following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black male who was killed in police custody.