Citadel's 'Honor, Duty, Respect' uniforms meet NCAA rules

The Citadel plans to wear the words "Honor, Duty, Respect" on the back of its navy blue jerseys this season. (Citadel photo)

The Citadel's plan to include the words "Honor, Duty, Respect" - the motto of the military school - on the back of football jerseys this season meets NCAA rules, school and Southern Conference officials said Wednesday.

The Bulldogs showed off the new navy blue jerseys from adidas at media day Sunday. One-third of the players will have "Honor" on the nameplate on the back of the jersey, with another third wearing "Duty" and the final third "Respect."

There was some question as to whether the uniforms were legal under NCAA rules, especially after South Florida was forced to drop its plan to feature the words "The Team" on the back of its jersey.

In the NCAA rulebook, Rule 1-4-5 says that other than the player's number, the jersey may contain only the player's name, school name, NCAA logo, sleeve stripes, the American and/or state flag and a logo for the school, conference, mascot, postseason game, memorial or the military.

The rule also states: "By interpretation, only military service academies may substitute words such as Honor, Integrity, etc., for the player's name on the back of the jersey ... civilian institutions may not substitute other words for the player's name."

For purposes of this rule, The Citadel is considered a military service academy, said Jack Childress, coordinator of officials for the Southern Conference.

"There have been a lot of questions about jerseys in recent years," said Childress, who checked with the NCAA on the matter Wednesday. "A lot of schools want to put slogans on the jerseys, like 'Rocky Top' at Tennessee, or something like 'Our House.' Schools are not allowed to put those on jerseys.

"An exception has been made for military schools to replace the names with traditional words like 'honor' and 'duty.' The Citadel is considered a military college."

The Citadel plans to wear the navy blue jerseys "once or twice" this season, coach Mike Houston said.

The plans to use the words "Honor, Duty, Respect" on the uniforms, and to put the name of each player's company on the back of the helmet, were the brainchild of Citadel equipment manager Kevin Yeager.

"I thought his ideas were fantastic," Houston said. "One of the things (school president Lt. Gen. John Rosa) and I talked about was to find ways to bring the Corps of Cadets and athletes a little closer together. I think Kevin's ideas are a great way to tie the individual athletes back to the institution and to their company."

The Bulldogs open their season Aug. 30 against Coastal Carolina at Johnson Hagood Stadium.