This is an interesting outcome of the settlement of the EA Sports lawsuit in favor of former players.
Worried about the ramifications of selling the numbers tied to student-athletes, several schools have decided not to sell football jerseys with star players’ digits on them this upcoming season, sources tell ESPN.
Three schools — Texas A&M, Arizona and Northwestern — will offer more generic jerseys this season.
Granted, three is a small sample size, but it does show that there are some schools starting to become concerned about not only the legal ramifications of selling the individual player jerseys, but also the public appearance of making money off these kids fame.
Of course, the entire financial structure of NCAA football is making money off of the exploits and fame of unpaid student athletes, so I’m not sure why selling the jersey is suddenly the line in the sand that shall not be crossed. We’ll see, however, as jersey sales drop, if the financial hit has them changing their minds or not over the next few years, or whether other schools follow their lead. I would imagine that jersey sales overall will drop dramatically. Fans generally buy a new jersey when there’s a new star player they want to have a jersey for, you’re not going to be buying a 12th man jersey all that often. One is plenty.
On the other hand, how much of the overall revenue pie comes from jersey sales? Probably not that much, but we know big time NCAA football programs don’t like to see any revenue stop coming in. They need that cash!