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College Football/Jersey numbers


I am a HUGE Notre Dame fan, and I've noticed that our Quarterback wears #5 and our Linebacker (Tao) wears #5 as well.
I never remember seeing that in any sport. Is there not a rule for that?


Thank you for your question.  Both players may wear #5 but they cannot participate in the same play/down at the same time.  In other words, the players wearing the same number cannot be on the field at the same.  That is likely why in your question # 5 is assigned to an offensive player and a defensive player.  The rule that you ask about deals with players numbering in Rule 1-4-2-b (No two players of the same team shall participate in the same down wearing identical numbers).  I have provided you below with the actually rules pertaining to Jerseys.

Rule 1=4=2 states:
a. All players shall be numbered 1 through 99. Any number preceded by zero (“0’’) is illegal.
b. No two players of the same team shall participate in the same down wearing identical numbers.
c. Markings in the vicinity of the numbers are not permitted.
PENALTY [a-c]—Live-ball foul. Five yards from the previous spot.
d. Numbers shall not be changed during the game to deceive opponents.
PENALTY—Live-ball foul, unsportsmanlike conduct. 15 yards from the previous spot. Flagrant offenders shall be disqualified.

Rule i-4-4 addresses Jersey.
1. Design. The jersey must have sleeves that completely cover the shoulder pads. It must not be altered or designed to tear. It must conform with Rules 1-4-5 and paragraph 3 below. The jersey must be full-length and tucked into the pants. Vests and/or a second jersey worn concurrently during the game are prohibited.
2. Color. See Rule 1-4-5 for specifications regarding colors of jerseys.
3. Numerals. The jersey must have clearly visible, permanent Arabic numerals measuring at least 8 and 10 inches in height front and back, respectively, of a color(s) in distinct contrast with the jersey. All players of a team shall have the same color and style numbers front and back.
The individual bars must be approximately 1-1/2 inches wide. Numbers on any part of the uniform shall correspond with the mandatory front and back jersey numbers.

Jersey Color and Design
Rule 1-4-5
a. Players of opposing teams shall wear jerseys of contrasting colors. Players on the same team shall wear jerseys of the same color and
 1. The visiting team shall wear white jerseys; however, the home team may wear white jerseys if the teams have agreed in writing before the season.
  2. If the home team wears colored jerseys, the visiting team may also wear colored jerseys, if and only if the following conditions have been
   a. The home team has agreed in writing prior to the game; and
    b. The conference of the home team certifies that the jersey of the visiting team is of a contrasting color.
      3. If on the kickoff at the start of each half, the visiting team wears a colored jersey in violation of the conditions specified in paragraph 2 (above), it is a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.
PENALTY: Administer as a dead-ball foul. 15 yards at the succeeding spot following the kickoff. If the kickoff is returned for a touchdown, the penalty is assessed either on the try or on the succeeding kickoff, at the option of the home team. [S27]

b. Other than the player’s number, the jersey may only contain: Player’s name; school name; NCAA Football logo; sleeve stripes; insignia
for school, conference, mascot, postseason-game, memorial, or the military; or an American or state flag.
c. Any insignia must not exceed 16 square inches in area (i.e., rectangle, square, parallelogram), including any additional material (e.g., patch).
d. A border around the collar and cuffs not more than 1 inch wide is permissible, as is a maximum 4-inch stripe along the side seam (insert from
the underarm to pants top).
e. If a colored jersey contains white, it may appear only as any of the items listed in paragraph b above.
f. Jerseys may not be taped or tied in any manner.

I hope this is what you wanted to know.  I provided you with a little more information than you asked about pertaining to Jerseys and the numbering rules, but thought you might like reading the rule.

Thanks for your question,  

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Vic Winnek


Liability Issues (Legal & Insurance) arising from coaching, playing, refereeing, product liability; Football injury cases.


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