Prior to 1941, virtually all football players saw action on "both sides of the ball," playing in both offensive and defensive roles. From 1941 to 1952, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) allowed unlimited substitution. This change was originally made because of the difficulty in fielding highly skilled players during the years of the Second World War, in which many able-bodied college-age men volunteered for or were drafted into military service. The followed suit abolishing its substitution restrictions in 1943, for similar reasons.
For the 1953 season, the NCAA emplaced a set of new rules requiring the use of a one-platoon system, primarily due to financial reasons. One source indicated that only one player was allowed to be substituted between plays; however, according to the NCAA, the actual rule allowed a player to enter the game only once in each quarter. head coach "General" Robert Neyland praised the change as the end of "chickenshit football".
The one-platoon rules were gradually liberalized over the next 11 seasons; by 1958, had developed a three-platoon system (a two-way platoon, an offensive platoon, and a defensive platoon known as the Chinese Bandits). For the 1964 season, the NCAA repealed the rules enforcing its use and allowed an unlimited number of player substitutions. This allowed, starting with the 1964 season, teams to form separate offensive and defensive units as well as "special teams" which would be employed in kicking situations. By the early 1970s, however, some university administrators, coaches and others were calling for a return to the days of one-platoon football.
The sport of used a limited one-platoon system (from which quarterbacks, kickers and one "" were exempt) from its inception until 2007.