'Anchor Down' a miscommunication

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Vanderbilt's "Anchor Down" jerseys, which were the subject of controversy during the Commodores' season-opening game against Temple on Thursday night, will not be returning to the field.

That's the word from the NCAA, which has ruled that all schools, except the military service academies, may not put slogans on the back of their players' jerseys.

Chuck Dunlap, communications director for the SEC, issued a statement Friday confirming that the Vanderbilt jerseys with "Anchor Down" on the back "are not permissible under the NCAA football uniform regulations" and were worn against Temple because of "a miscommunication."

"Vanderbilt has been notified it cannot wear the slogan on its jersey for future games and has agreed to comply," Dunlap said.

The controversy Thursday night began at the start of the second quarter, when the officiating crew announced that the Commodores were being penalized one timeout for wearing the "Anchor Down" jerseys and would continue to be charged an additional timeout per quarter for the duration of the game.

But Vanderbilt officials then showed referee Ken Williamson an email printout, which apparently indicated that the Commodores had sought and received permission to wear the jerseys. Williamson then restored the lost timeout and announced that there were no further problems with the jerseys.

Dunlap's statement suggests that the email referred only to the jersey's base design, not to the "Anchor Down" nameplate, and was misinterpreted by Vanderbilt officials and Williamson.

Vanderbilt isn't the only school to run afoul of the NCAA's ban on jersey slogans. Earlier this month, USF announced that its players would wear "The Team" nameplates, but that plan was scrapped a day later after the school became aware of the prohibition on slogans.

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