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Old Sat May 20, 2006, 10:31pm
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Nit-Picky question on uniforms

I have a question on FED rule 3.2.2 - (in part) ....number must be of solid color contrasting with the color of shirt. ....numbers may have a contrasting color border, which shall not exceed 1/4 inch. Okay, so at a varsity tournament in Michigan, one team had white numbers with a black drop-shadow effect (black did not go all the way around), and the black part was easily 3/4 inch wide. Another team had numbers that were sort of a striped effect... three side-by-side 1/4" white stripes that alternated with 1/4" stripes of the dark underlying uniform's color. Both of these uniforms were very typical softball uniform styles that the schools obviously paid well for.

My question: what is the point of the rule? I can understand the legibility factor, but the above stated examples would not cause anybody any trouble in that respect. According to the rule, a team could probably use Roman numerals, or multi-digit numbers in a really skinny font that would fit across the back of the shirt. Now that would be confusing! (and the kids would look like inmates) Even the penalty for such infractions doesn't really seem like a penalty...(refer the infraction to the state association)...unless you figure the cost to replace the uniforms.
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Old Sat May 20, 2006, 11:26pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justmom
My question: what is the point of the rule?
I'm not a NFHS rules committee member, but I would presume this rule is to ensure the numbers contrast with the shirt and any borders that might be there.
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Old Sun May 21, 2006, 08:23am
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The point of the rule is probably to insure the players can be easily identified without the need to get up close and personal.

Putting black numbers on a dark blue shirt makes it difficult to see that number unless you catch the right angle of light or you are standing directly behind the player.
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Old Mon May 22, 2006, 09:48am
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This entire post is purely opinion.

WMB, you can stop reading this response, now. I will probably just annoy you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by justmom
I have a question on FED rule 3.2.2 - (in part) ....number must be of solid color contrasting with the color of shirt. ....numbers may have a contrasting color border, which shall not exceed 1/4 inch.
You've hit upon one of my pet peeves with NFHS. The OCD emphasis on uniform specifications is taking things to the absurd. If visibility was the key, why even mention the contrasting border at all? Why specify it as 1/4" maximum? If you think this is ridiculous, look at their rules on undergarments. And then what happens? The rule gets ignored, as your examples indicate. In MN, we play softball in what is laughably called "spring." In some parts of the state, poor sledding weather would be more accurate. Are we going to enforce the color of undergarments rule? Don't be silly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by justmom
Even the penalty for such infractions doesn't really seem like a penalty...(refer the infraction to the state association)...unless you figure the cost to replace the uniforms.
Au contraire. Several state associations allow uniform violations to still be protested by opposing coaches after the contest is completed and have gotten state championships voided through DQs using this chicken "tool." While the extreme penalties are implemented by the states, the NFHS should put a stop to this by:

1) Cleaning up their uniform rules by removing the silliness and over-specification, and,

2) Require any protests filed over uniform violations to be done before the contest begins. Protests regarding uniform violations after the player in violation has entered the game and participated in one play or had one pitch thrown to her will be not honored.

3) Specify the maximum penalty that can be applied is the player will not be allowed to participate in that ONE contest until the uniform is corrected. After correction, she may participate without further penalty.

4) Allow state associations to only weaken the uniform rules, not strengthen them. IOW, state associations may allow a team in violation of the rules to participate anyway (hardship, etc.), but may not add requirements or penalties with the exception of sanctions directed solely at the institution (school) that will have no direct bearing on the current playing season.

As you can tell, I don't much like uniform rules. I recognize the need for SOME uniform regulations for schools (and for national championship play in ASA and the like), but the absurd level of specificity included in the NFHS rules and the open permisision for states to take it even further into the land of the "gotcha" needs to be fixed, IMO.
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Old Mon May 22, 2006, 10:09am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota
Several state associations allow uniform violations to still be protested by opposing coaches
That's one reason why Michigan doesn't allow protests!
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Old Mon May 22, 2006, 11:38am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota
This entire post is purely opinion.

If visibility was the key, why even mention the contrasting border at all? Why specify it as 1/4" maximum? If you think this is ridiculous, look at their rules on undergarments. And then what happens? The rule gets ignored, as your examples indicate.
You've certainly hit the nail on the head..."The rule gets ignored,"... NO KIDDING!!! I guess I don't have a huge problem with the rules, but the lack of enforcement really annoys me. You are also right about the visibility factor, and the 1/4" maximum border doesn't make sense to me either. (The NCAA jersey rule has slightly better wording, IMO). I don't think having matching exposed undergarments would be a problem if coaches would communicate the rules to the players & parents.
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Old Mon May 22, 2006, 11:42am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueump
That's one reason why Michigan doesn't allow protests!
MI doesn't allow protests regarding player eligibility?
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Old Tue May 23, 2006, 08:34am
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WMB, you can stop reading this response, now. I will probably just annoy you.

Forget it Tom, you know that I am not going to stay home on this one.

Why is it when people find a small bit of a rule they don’t like, that the rule is nit picking? Shouldn’t it be the people that are nit picking? Who is nit picking if the NFHS tells me that I have to wear a black belt. Why can’t I wear a light blue or gray belt with my heather gray pants?



The OCD emphasis on uniform specifications is taking things to the absurd.


Is it absurd that your favorite organization writes a rule that we have to wear a navy cap with white ASA letters, trimmed with light blue, and the US Flag on the left side, with the stars forward? It that over specifying?

For over 30 years the NFHS has specified a legal uniform for high school players, including the number on the back rule. Back in the seventies the rules were the same for BB and SB as both boys and girls were wearing the baseball style uniforms then. The BB rules have changed very little to today.

But girls are different! (Now there is a bold statement!) Girls are far more appearance conscious and are very demanding about clothing styles. To its credit, the NFHS has yielded to the girls and has changed its SB uniform rules almost yearly to make legal what the girls were wearing. They have legalized shorts and skirts and short sleeves and visors and headbands, and no sleeves and no hats and no bandannas, etc, etc, etc. They have allowed sleeves to be pinned up and shirts to be worn outside. As the uniforms became skimpier, the undergarments became more visible and so rules had to be written to cover that issue.



That said, once the rules were written, the schools and players were expected to abide by them, just like any other rule. And the NFHS left it up to the State Associations to manage it, not umpires. If a player has a uniform violation which cannot be corrected in a reasonable amount of time (as determined by the umpire), then umpires are directed to allow the player to participate. The umpire refers the infraction to the State.


Given that is the RULE, I do not understand how a game protest can be upheld that is in violation of the game rules – allow the player to play! Tom – your issue sounds like a Minnesota problem, not a NFHS problem. Asking the NFHS to fix it is not the way it works. The NFHS does not control State Associations; the NFHS is an association of State Associations. (Remember that SC still requires its umpires to call leaving early and missed bases instead of waiting for player appeal.)


As far as the team violation in Michigan, I have a problem with the AD that failed to read the rules before ordering new uniforms. I have no problem if the MHSAA tells those schools to replace their uniforms with legal ones.


Finally –

MI doesn't allow protests regarding player eligibility?


No, not game protests. Per the NFHS rules, umpires allow anyone on the roster to play, including those that come late. Player eligibility is a very complex process that is managed directly between the schools and the MHSAA. There is an appeal process and a state committee that rules on eligibility issues (transfers, age limits, grade limits, etc.)


And that is my soap-box speech for this day.

WMB
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Old Tue May 23, 2006, 09:51am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestMichBlue
WMB, you can stop reading this response, now. I will probably just annoy you.

Forget it Tom, you know that I am not going to stay home on this one.
I knew that! I was just tweaking a little bit!

On some of the points you raised.

I believe I stated clearly that the ridiculous enforcement situation is a state deal (but not just MN; I linked to an aritcle, I believe from IL a year or so ago where a state championship was voided due to a uniform violation; I recall one from WI within the last year or 2 also; I recall another - don't remember the state - may be IL, WI, MN, I forget - where a kid had her track and field state championship, and if memory servers, her school's team championship voided due to an after-the-fact protest about the color of her bra, that only became "visible" through her jersey after the heat of the day took its effect). These kinds of rulings are absurd, not rare, and not isolated to one state. NFHS should act to put a stop to it, IMO.

In all cases, these things are decided by state officials, not game or event officials (aka umpires).

The overspecifying has to do with reason. There is a reason ASA wants their logo on the hat. There is a reason my state's ASA association wants their logo on my shirt. Fine. OTOH, if I wear a jacket, it only has to be navy blue. Logo or no logo, doesn't matter. A logo is a trademarked item. I can't just go to the local craft store and buy any ol' iron on letters and make my own ASA logoed hat.

Jersey numbers are not logos. The essential characteristic of a jersey number is that it be visible and legible.

What is the reason for the 1/4" maximum border that is then ignored? Why are shadowed borders illegal? Because the rule writers did not think of them? That is the problem with overspecification. Shadow borders to not make the number less legible; just the opposite. So why are they illegal? Just because they are, apparently.

Instead of constantly trying to stay up to date with teen age girls' sense of fashion, NFHS would do better to specify only the essential characteristics of the uniform and leave the rest alone. If they keep it to the essential, there is no reason for constant updates, since by definition, everything specified is essential. JMO.

And, I do have a problem with forcing a school to buy new uniforms because of a technical, don't matter to no one no how except those looking for a gotcha, violation. So what if the jersey numbers have a shadow instead of a 1/4" border?
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Old Tue May 23, 2006, 01:09pm
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Why bother with writing a rule if no-one is going to enforce it? Anyway, I don't really think it would be a "gotcha" if the schools would bother to read the rules, like WMB suggests.
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Old Tue May 23, 2006, 02:13pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justmom
Why bother with writing a rule if no-one is going to enforce it? Anyway, I don't really think it would be a "gotcha" if the schools would bother to read the rules, like WMB suggests.
PLEASE, the rest of you, don't open either Pandora box !!
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