Citing 'distraction,' UVA repeals sign ban
Heeding a variety of condemnations and a giant protest scheduled for this Saturday's home game against Maryland, UVA has suddenly repealed its notorious ban on signs at sporting events.
"The policy prohibiting signs, banners, and flags in all UVa athletics venues has become a distraction and has taken the focus away from supporting our student-athletes," said athletic director Craig Littlepage in a press release. "Our football team needs our support right now, and that should be our collective focus. With that in mind, I am repealing immediately the policy prohibiting signs, banners and flags in all athletics venues."
The ban was in place for only one home football game, the Cavaliers' win over the Richmond Spiders on September 6.
Littlepage didn't say exactly what led him to repeal the ban at this particular time, but further down in his statement might lie a clue.
"My hope is our fans will wear orange and be prepared to support the Cavaliers," he said.
This would appear to be a response to the mounting threat of a mass protest of UVA students chucking their "Power of Orange" t-shirts into collection bins outside of Scott Stadium in protest of the sign ban. Students organized last month to form "Tees Overseas" to collect the orange shirts and asked fans to instead wear blue to the Maryland game to voice their disagreement with the sign policy.
Additionally, the decision seems to have been Littlepage's alone if the comments of his boss are any indicator. Following his remarks at the ribbon-cutting of the new Kellogg House dormitory, UVA president John Casteen told the Hook of the ban, "I don't do signs." Asked whether he could do something about the sign ban if he wanted to do so, Casteen said, "You could make the same argument about trash cans in academic buildings. That's the buildings department's job. This is a sportsmanship issue, that's the job of the athletic department."
Littlepage's announcement comes at a time when the Cavalier football team could use a lift in its spirits. The team has a record of 1-3, with their only win coming against the Division I-AA Spiders. Just last week they lost on the road to Duke by a score of 31-3, giving the Blue Devils their first ACC win in four years.