NCAA nixes Boise State uniform rule, all-blues OK again

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Boise State's home all-blue uniforms aren't going anywhere after all. (USATSI)
Boise State's home all-blue uniforms aren't going anywhere after all. (USATSI)

It's been quite a roller-coaster ride for Boise State's all-blue home uniforms. First the Mountain West banned them after opponents complained. Then the MWC unbanned them as part of the Broncos' return to the conference. But then the NCAA appeared to step in and ban them again as part of its 2013 rules changes, a decision the MWC now publicly opposed.

But it appears the ride is finally over, and the uniforms have survived. The NCAA announced Thursday it will not, in fact, adopt the proposed rules change requiring either a team's pants or jersey be a different color from the playing surface.

Though the rules change was immediately associated with the Broncos' home all-blues and the legendary/infamous "Smurf Turf," Boise wasn't the only program affected. Teams with all-green uniforms would have been unable to wear them anywhere but Boise, ironically*; though Oregon might have been the most prominent example, officials at Marshall were publicly unhappy about losing their "pea pod" big-game alternates.

The uniform reversal wasn't the only piece of news from the NCAA's Thursday announcement, which confirmed "players who target and contact defenseless players above the shoulders" will be automatically ejected from the game. The rule drew criticism on its initial February announcement but remained intact after review.

The NCAA did announce that those ejections would be "reviewable through video replay," though "the replay official must have conclusive evidence that a player should not be ejected to overturn the call on the field." (Saddling replay officials with the burden of determining a player's intent on a split-second helmet-to-helmet hit sure seems like a recipe for fun, doesn't it?)

In the long run, that change will have far greater consequences than anything involving monochromatic uniforms. Just don't tell that to the folks smiling in Boise.

*Or on a road trip to FCS Eastern Washington, if they wanted to do that for some reason.

 
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