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PIAA modifies uniform policies banning jerseys for some charity events

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. -- A new policy by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is keeping some high school sports teams from doing something they look forward to every year: wearing different color uniforms to bring awareness to various causes and raise money for local charities. But the PIAA is putting an end to that tradition in some sports, saying it's trying to keep the uniform sacred.

There is a new change in policy that was voted in back in March but it's causing some confusion in local districts. 

The PIAA said it's been inundated by high schools in recent years asking to modify their uniforms for different charity events. But now the association has decided to put an end to it. 

"We've never wanted to get into the whole NASCAR, we call it, where we're changing and modifying and putting different things on the uniforms," said Melissa Mertz, associate executive director for the PIAA. "We feel that it is to be sacred."

Some sports affected include field hockey, soccer and basketball. Rules say home teams must wear white uniforms and those teams cannot change those colors. But others, like volleyball, have no specific uniform rule

"Their rule book doesn't dictate a home and away specific color uniform," said Mertz. "In those instances, by rule book, they would be permitted to wear a pink jersey."

6 News did some digging and found that football also will not be affected. Home teams can wear whatever color they wish, but away teams must still wear white 

But for several high school sports teams, the new guidelines mean a hit to some of the biggest matches of the year -- those that raise money for different charities, most notably in the month of October for breast cancer awareness. 

While they won't be allowed to wear pink jerseys, the PIAA said it understands and supports raising money and awareness, so it is making some exceptions. 

"(Teams) can sell things before the game, they can do pink shoes, something you've seen in the NFL," said Mertz. "They can wear pink wristbands, towels, socks. There are other areas they can recognize and do that and we encourage schools to do so."

Bottom line: Unless your school colors are pink, if you play field hockey, soccer or basketball, you will not be allowed to wear pink home uniforms or any other color in support of a charity from here on out. 

Anyone with questions is asked to contact their school athletic administrator or district representative.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times