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Do All College Football Jerseys Have Names On The Back?

Names on the back of football jerseys are a common theme within the NFL, but many fans are wondering why this isn’t always the case with college football.

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Do College Football Jerseys Have Names On The Back?

The NCAA does not require that names be on the back of college football jerseys. While most college football teams opt to put names on the back of their jerseys, some teams, such as Notre Dame, USC, and Penn State, choose to only use numbers, not names.

After extensively researching NCAA guidelines, I have gathered enough information to determine if college football uniforms have names included on the back. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at why some college football teams have names on the back of jerseys and why others don’t.

Yes, many college football jerseys do have names, but this is not the case for every team.

The NCAA dictates the rules and guidelines for college football, and they currently do not have a regulation that states that teams must display names on the back of jerseys.

This can be a bit puzzling to fans who are used to watching the NFL, where names are always written on jerseys. 

Within college football, each school and team gets to decide whether they want to include names or not, and some simply choose to opt-out for various reasons. 

With that said, given that names are often expected and, in many cases, preferred by fans and athletes, most teams decide to include them on their jerseys.

These days, there are very few teams that don’t practice this, and many of them still include names on bowl games.

Which College Football Teams Don’t Have Names on Jerseys

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If you are a fan of watching football, you may have seen the occasional college game where you notice players running around without names on their backs. 

While this is not very common in modern college football, some teams prefer to leave the names off of jerseys. 

In the past, most teams did not include names on the back of jerseys. However, this has been phased out by many colleges given the influence the NFL has on the entire sport.

Nowadays, the bulk of all college teams add names to their football jerseys. These are the most reputable college football teams that refuse to include names on their jerseys:

Why Some College Teams Don’t Have Names on Jerseys 

Virtually all college football teams put names on their jerseys, but this is certainly not the case for schools.

A handful of schools around the country choose not to include names because they feel that it can sabotage the integrity of the sport. 

Many fans and athletes disagree with this. However, we all need to accept that rules are rules, and the NCAA does not technically require this, which means that the decision is mainly left up to the colleges. 

The schools that have decided to stick to this protocol firmly stand by it, and their reasoning does have merit, depending on how your view the sport and each individual athlete.

These are the most common reasons why college teams don’t have names on jerseys.

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The bottom line is that this really comes down to tradition. In the past, most colleges did not include names on college football jerseys, and some schools value maintaining their traditions, despite the hype of the sport and the pressure from fans and students.

Schools such as Notre Dame have opposed this change for this very reason. At the end of the day, putting a name on the back of a jersey does nothing to improve the performance of an athlete or a team, and this has been the case since college football was first popularized.

Team Unity

There is no ‘I’ in team. Football is a team sport through and through, and no player should be dominating the attention of the fans or other players based on their name. 

Many colleges believe that adding names to the back of jerseys takes away from the intent of the sport and can create a poor relationship between team members.

It can be very common for a star to dominate the attention of the fans and create a lot of unnecessary hype. 

The ideology is that one braggadocious player who excels on the field cannot achieve success without the help of the team, which is very true in a team-dependent sport like football. 

This can in turn lower the morale of the entire team and make them less ambitious on the field.

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A football jersey is mainly supposed to help people understand which team you are playing for, not necessarily who you are. Adding additional information onto a football jersey can ultimately be a distraction for players on both teams, as well as fans. 

Instead of focusing on the game, players may have their eyes on names, which are also printed smaller than numbers.

Many college football coaches have even refused to wear their team jerseys during games for this very reason. 

They want the attention of players and the fans to be solely focused on the game, and not on individual players. 

Player Identification 

Spotting a player on the field does not require the names to be printed.

Most of the people watching the college football game in the stadium cannot identify the names of players as it is, and college football jersey numbers are much more reliable for this. 

With a simple number system for each jersey, you can always see who is on the field without having to rely on anything else to identify a player. 

Key Takeaways

  • The NCAA does not require that names be on the back of college football jerseys. 
  • While many teams opt to put names on the back of their jerseys, some teams such as Notre Dame, USC, and Penn State choose to only use numbers to identify football players, not names.
  • The most common reasons why some teams prefer not to use names on the back of football jerseys include tradition, team unity, distraction, and player identification. 

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