Refs Overturn Strange Vanderbilt Penalty After Being Overruled By Email

Scissors beat paper, paper beats rock -- and email trumps referees, apparently.

During Thursday night's college football game between Vanderbilt and Temple, officials penalized Vanderbilt for wearing impermissible jerseys. They then had to overturn the penalty after Vanderbilt presented them with a series of emails showing their uniforms had been pre-approved by the Southeastern Conference.

"Vanderbilt is being charged with a team timeout each quarter," referee Ken Williamson told the crowd, explaining the penalty, "because of ... ill-stated statements on the jersey."

The nontraditional jerseys had the team slogan, "Anchor Down," printed on the back in place of players' names, which officials didn't think met NCAA standards:


An amusing video of the incident features referee Ken Williamson reading email on the sidelines, as Vanderbilt coaches point to the document and argue to have the ruling overturned.

According to ESPN, NCAA rules say a jersey may contain only a player's name, the school name, the NCAA logo, sleeve stripes, an American flag, a state flag or a logo for a school, conference, mascot, postseason game, memorial or the military.

Based on the email, Williamson ended up rescinding the penalty, though it doesn't seem to have helped Vanderbilt much: the team lost 35-7.