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Will Lane Kiffin’s Number-Changing Strategy Earn USC Some Sort of Punishment?

Lane Kiffin and USC sure do know how to steal headlines.  

According to the Los Angeles Times, Kiffin and his Trojans partook in a technically legal little scheme this past Saturday that featured Cody Kessler wearing one jersey number in the first half, and a completely different one in the second.

When Kiffin was questioned about this after the fact, he gave a standard Kiffin-esque response.

"We change jerseys all the time with our guys," he said on Tuesday (via the Times). "We'll change some more this week. Everything's within college rules."

For obvious reasons (the sheer amount of players on a given roster) the doubling up of jersey numbers happens in college football all the time. As long as guys who have the same numbers are not on the field together at the same time (i.e. if one plays offense and the other players defense), there is no problem. The reason this case is special is because, typically, you don’t see the same guy wearing two different jerseys over the course of one game.

As noted by the L.A. Times, NCAA rules state the following as it pertains to number-changing: "Numbers shall not be changed during the game to deceive opponents.”

A violation of that rule nets earns the team that committed the violation a 15-yard penalty.

Was Kiffin trying to ‘deceive’ with this little ploy? Probably. What other reason would he have for doing it? To help the opposition?

That said, it is impossible to say with certainty (read: prove) what Kiffin’s motivations were. And if we can’t say it with certainty, nobody -- including the typically hapless -- NCAA will be able to prove it.

(Kudos Los Angeles Times)

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