NCAA committee confirms ban on eye black messages
It's a good thing Tim Tebow's eligibility is up, because if he were still playing for the University of Florida he'd have to make a significant change in how he proclaimed his Christianity during games.
The former Heisman Trophy winner and UF quarterback became famous for wearing Bible verses on the eye black under his eyes during games - a practice that was praised by some and criticized by others.
But on Thursday, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel confirmed that players are not allowed to have any symbols or messages on their eye black starting in the 2010 season.
Although many have dubbed it the "Tebow rule'', the reality is the rule had been in place prior to Tebow.
The NCAA's member rules prohibit "anything on the uniform other than a player's numbers; a player's name; NCAA Football logo; memorial recognition; the American flag; or institution, conference or game identification. No other words, numbers or symbols are permitted on a player's person or tape."
In previous years, the NCAA had allowed individual institutions to decide which messages were appropriate. But last season, Tebow became the target of criticism for his increasing use of messages, and Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor ignited a firestorm when he used his eye black tape last season to show support for former Falcons QB Michael Vick after Vick was released from prison.
Florida coach Urban Meyer has often said he had no problem with Tebow's decision to print Bible verses on his eye black tape.