NCAA says Marshall must limit its green
The pea pods have been shucked.
Remember the green-on-green uniforms Marshall's football team likes to wear in particularly significant games?
Well, forget about the ensemble affectionately called the pea pods.
The color-blind NCAA in its infinite fashion wisdom is legislating against them. Actually, the NCAA was taking aim at those Smurfs from Boise State, who wear all-blue uniforms in every home game that match their uniquely colored blue artificial turf.
Marshall is merely collateral damage because almost every college football program plays on traditionally colored green turf.
However, it still means Marshall won't be permitted to wear all-green any longer.
"I'm sure it does," said Mike Hamrick, Marshall's athletic director. "One part of the uniform has to be a different color than the playing surface. No more green-on-green."
And no more green-outs for players and fans alike.
What a shame.
Particularly since Marshall has donned the pea pods periodically for 17 seasons.
"I was the one who got it started," said Bobby Pruett, the iconic former Marshall coach who led the Herd from 1996 through 2004. "I got the idea from Clemson when I was coaching in the ACC. They wore all-orange uniforms."
A football fashion statement was born.
"But we only wore the all-green uniforms in really big games," said Pruett. "I remember we did it against Miami of Ohio a couple of times."
One of those occasions was the nationally televised game on Nov. 13, 2002, (a Tuesday night) that culminated in Redhawks' defensive coordinator John Wauford punching a Marshall fan and being led off the field in handcuffs by State Police troopers.
That ugly incident occurred just moments after Marshall quarterback Stan Hill, who was making his first career start in place of the injured Byron Leftwich, leaped into the end zone on the last play of the game for a stunning 36-34 victory.
"Yes, we definitely wore them that night," said Pruett.
The all-green uniforms were reserved for those kinds of games.
"Sometimes I would have the players wear white pants during warmups," recalled Pruett. "Then, when they would come back in the locker room I would surprise them with the news we were going to wear all green. It would really get them fired up."
Marshall wore all-green uniforms twice during the 2012 season. First, during a 27-24 loss to Ohio University at Edwards Stadium, then during a 59-24 blowout at Southern Miss.
Yet, Herd co-captain Jeremiah Taylor doesn't think the players will miss the pea pods.
"I can certainly see why they (the NCAA) wouldn't want teams doing it with some of the plays that people saw last year with guys laying down on the field and things like that," said the defensive end. "At the end of the day, it's not that big of a deal. It's more important that you play well than what you're wearing."
Perhaps, but the legislated end of yet another tradition is disturbing.
"I'll miss it," said Pruett. "It was a good tradition for big games. Now, teams will go black-on-black or gray-on-gray like WVU did last year.
"It seems like the NCAA is always telling Marshall it can't wear something. Remember when they outlawed those striped socks Randy Moss wore in '96?"
Ah, yes, the infamous "Cat in the Hat" socks. And, now, they are joined by the pea pods.
Sometimes it just isn't easy being green.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.