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NCAA changing rules to accommodate USC-UCLA jersey tradition

February 19, 2009 |  1:30 pm

UCLA and USC looking good in their home jerseys in the Rose Bowl during the 2008 season.

It looks like Pete Carroll won't return a favor to Rick Neuheisel.

He won't need to.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee has approved a change that will require opposing teams simply to wear jerseys of contrasting color. For more than 25 years, the rules required visitors to wear white -- quashing a tradition where USC and UCLA would both wear their home-color jerseys in the annual crosstown-rivalry game.

Taking a stand for tradition and against the obscure rule, Carroll's Trojans wore their cardinal jerseys to the Rose Bowl in December. Referees docked USC a timeout. Neuheisel immediately burned one of his own to level the playing field.

Carroll said he would do the same for UCLA when players wore their true-blue unis in the Coliseum this season. Now that won't be an issue, assuming the NCAA rubberstamps the change made by their rules committee.

Color home jerseys and white visitor jerseys will remain the standard nationwide. The new rule merely allows teams to ask for a game-by-game exception from their conference, which is responsible for ensuring that the colors contrast.

A spokesman for the NCAA said that the Pacific 10 made a formal request to amend the rule and that similar inquiries had been made over the years by other parties.

Local sports fans took up the issue early last year thanks to a push from radio talk-show host Dave Dameshek and an online petition drive that yielded 1,300 digital signatures.

-- Adam Rose

Photo: UCLA and USC looking good in their home jerseys in the Rose Bowl during the 2008 season. Credit: Lori Shepler/Los Angeles Times