The cover of the Oct. 30, 1967, issue of Sports Illustrated depicts an airborne collision between a crimson-clad Alabama player and a Volunteer in an orange jersey.
Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin wanted to turn back the clock Saturday but Alabama wouldn’t let him.
Kiffin and UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said Monday that Alabama denied Tennessee’s request to wear orange jerseys against the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
“We tried,’’ Kiffin said. “Talking with some people in the offseason about the history here and both teams wearing the home jersey, I thought that would be something really neat for our fans and for their fans, too.
“We were approved by the SEC and Alabama denies us that.’’
A rule enacted in the late 1960s required that the visiting team wear white jerseys to provide contrast for viewers of black-and-white TV sets. A few schools, including LSU, choose to wear white at home so the visitor has to wear a colored jersey.
However, in February the NCAA football rules committee enacted a loophole (Rule 1-4-3-a).
The visitor may wear a colored jersey as long it contrasts with the home team’s jersey. However, both the home team’s conference and the home team must approve.
UT’s request included the opportunity for Alabama to wear crimson next year in Neyland Stadium.
The SEC granted permission but Alabama did not.
Asked if Alabama gave a reason for the denial, Kiffin said no.
Mal Moore, Alabama athletic director, issued a statement Monday night in response to the Mobile Press-Register:
“Mike (Hamilton) and I had a good conversation this morning and I told him that it is our desire to maintain the custom of the visiting team wearing their visiting jerseys. We’ll continue to wear our white jerseys when we visit Knoxville next year.’’
Last year, UCLA (light blue) and Southern Cal (cardinal) agreed to wear their colored jerseys in a UCLA home game.
Southern Cal was penalized one time-out for not wearing white. UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel then burned a time-out to even the scales.
The new rule for 2009 stiffens the penalty. If the visiting wears a colored jersey without permission it will be penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct following the kickoff of each half.
“We’re not good enough to do that,’’ Kiffin said. “The last thing we want to do is kick off 15 yards back.’’
The Vols no doubt would have enjoyed wearing orange on the road. Perhaps Alabama didn’t want to give UT any inspirational edge.
“We could wear pink and I’d still go down there ready to go,’’ said senior Wes Brown, an Alabama native.
“This game is special to me. But wearing the orange jersey is special and if you could do it in a great rivalry like this, that’d be very special.’’