So, why has No. 0 suddenly become a viable option for players? It's because of a proposal made by the NCAA Football Rules Committee in February in response to the "popularity of single-digit digits." The rule change allows players to wear uniforms number 8 and under. Previously, players could only be named Dan or David.
In 1954, the NFL adopted a similar policy for its players. At that time, there were no names allowed on jerseys, so players were simply numbered from 1 to 59.
Name plates were introduced by the NFL in 1958. Originally, they were just numbers, but beginning with the 1967 season, players started wearing letters on their helmets to identify themselves as defenders or quarterbacks.
Today, most college football teams use a combination of name tags and numbers to differentiate their players. Some schools, such as Alabama, Ohio State, and USC, have specific names for each position. These names are usually derived from sports or past athletes - for example, Johnny Musso was once the quarterback at Iowa State University.
Using names instead of numbers is popular among coaches who believe it gives their teams an advantage. They can match players up according to their skills or build rivalries by giving certain players the opportunity to go against one another.
So, why has No. 0 suddenly become a viable option for players? It's because of a proposal made by the NCAA Football Rules Committee in February in response to the "popularity of single-digit digits."
Starting next season, players will be permitted to wear the number 0 on their shirt, in an effort to reduce the number of players with single-digit numbers on teams. The rule still has one more obstacle to cross before it is officially authorized.
Numbers from 01 to 09, with a leading "0," would theoretically be permitted (and would be treated the same as numbers 1 to 9 for record-keeping purposes), however such a number has never been assigned in professional football.
Two players can have the same number, but they cannot play at the same time. Beginning with the 2020 NCAA football season, only two players on a team will be permitted to wear identical numbers, and players will be permitted to wear No. 0. In NCAA history, two athletes, both placekickers, have worn the number 100.
It's because of a proposal issued by the NCAA Football Rules Committee in February in response to the "popularity of single-digit numerals."... The goal is to have every team wear a unique uniform item — such as pants or shoes — during regular season play.
In addition to the number 0, other numbers that have been used include 1, 7, 8 and 9.
Currently, only eight teams out of 130 in college football wear zero as their primary jersey number: the Michigan State Spartans, Nebraska Cornhuskers, North Carolina Tar Heels, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Pennsylvania Panthers and Wisconsin Badgers.
Number 0 has been popular among players from smaller schools who want to make a name for themselves. For example, Bo Jackson played at Auburn and was known as "Bo Junkonnaleafest." After leaving school early to enter the 1992 NFL Draft, he returned in 1995 and 1996 to play for Auburn in two games against Alabama with no stats recorded.
A player can only wear one piece of equipment with his number 0 jersey, but it can be any type of gear they desire. For example, Paul Ernster wore nothing but 0 jerseys while playing quarterback for Purdue in the late 1990s.
After all, unlike the NFL, college football still enables any position player to wear a single-digit number. "So I switched to zero as a matter of pride," he explained. "I wanted to be different than the other players who were using four, five or six."
The short answer is yes, a player can be number 0 in college football. The long answer is that it depends on what level you're playing at and who your favorite team is. Let's take a look at some numbers used in college football.
At the highest level of college football, i.e. Bowl Games, each team is allowed only eight players on their active roster during season play. This means that one player is unavailable for selection. Often times this will be the quarterback, but it could also be a wide receiver or running back if that position is not filled by another player on the roster.
In addition to the eight regular players, two more substitutes are allowed during bowl games. These players can come from any source including freshman, high school players or even Canadian professionals who have not yet earned a spot on an NFL or CFL roster.
So overall, you can be number 0 in college football as long as there are no open positions on your team.
"We know that there is this enthusiasm and desire for student-athletes to wear a single-digit number," said Steve Shaw, the NCAA's national coordinator of officials, at the time. "We think that there will be a lot of interest in who will be the first player to wear zero at their college."
Al Oliver, I believe, was the first player to wear the number 0 when he departed the Pittsburgh Pirates for the Texas Rangers following the 1977 season. In Texas, there's something about a new beginning and a new phone number. In truth, Al Oliver and Cliff Johnson were colleagues in Toronto in 1985, and both a 0 and a 00 were on the same roster.
There wasn't much I could offer him. Clark ended up wearing the number zero, which is now more popular than ever among college basketball players. Why? Because of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's long-standing Rule 1, Section 22, Article 7, Clause b. 2—the little-known legislation that prevents NCAA basketball players from wearing the digits 6, 7, 8, or 9—and its effect on Larry Clark.
The prohibition against players wearing those specific numbers was originally enacted to allow time for new jerseys to be manufactured with different colors. But it also happens to match the number of teams that played in the first NCAA Tournament in 1939 (8 seeds only). In addition, there were no 7s or 0s on any of the original teams so they're guaranteed a spot in the tournament by default.
Today, only one team -- the Kansas Jayhawks -- wears all zeros as their uniform number. And they did so as an homage to the original draft pick, Bill Walker, who wore number 00 during his freshman year at Kansas in 1970-71. Since then, every other zero has been given out as a replacement player.
When colleges began using unnumbered uniforms during the 1995-96 season, everyone wanted ones with numbers on them. So the NCAA decided to allow players to wear whatever numbers they wanted as long as they weren't being worn by another athlete. This is how we get numbers like 07 and 99 being used by players on various teams around the country.