Ezekiel Elliott scoffs at jersey rule

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ezekiel Elliott's signature can be found on the online petition to reverse the rule change that bans his trademark crop-top jersey, but the Ohio State running back doesn't appear to have much interest in protesting the issue beyond that.

The junior's rise to stardom was fueled largely by his 696 yards and eight touchdowns in the postseason as he helped power the Buckeyes to the national championship. But his throwback, tucked-up jersey also brought him attention. The NCAA decided in the offseason to bar players from wearing a jersey in that style moving forward.

The decision prompted some Ohio State fans to begin tweeting in support of "saving the crop top" as well as to create a petition on change.org, which has more than 8,000 supporters, Elliott among them.

"It's pretty funny to see how much the fans love it, and it really shows how passionate Buckeye Nation is," Elliott said after practice Thursday. "I think the petition has almost 10,000 signatures on it, and to see the support from the fans is great. Mine is definitely on there.

"You know, it seems like a silly rule, but it's something you really can't make that big of a deal about. It's just a jersey. I love the game of the football, and it's such a minute detail, so it's just like, whatever."

The NCAA can't keep Elliott from tucking up his uniform under his pads during practice. As he walked off the field Thursday, his jersey was sporting the familiar, rolled-up look.

The Playing Rules Oversight Panel in March approved the ban. Violations will result in players being forced to the sideline to change out of the crop top.

"Officials will treat illegal equipment issues -- such as jerseys tucked under the shoulder pads or exposed back pads -- by making the player leave the field for at least one play," an NCAA read. "The equipment must be corrected for the player to return to the game. The player may remain in the game if his team takes a timeout to correct the equipment issue."

Elliott previously has called his style of jersey a matter of comfort and not a fashion statement, indicating that he doesn't like how loose jerseys fit at the waist.

According to Elliott, Ohio State's new uniform tops will have elastic on them to tighten them up, so with or without a successful attempt to reverse the rule, he will be fine either way. But that doesn't mean he and several thousand fans don't have a preference.

"You know, the NCAA has its rules," he said. "It's our job to abide by them."