According to Yahoo! Sports Pat Forde, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the NCAA will
“immediately” stop selling jerseys.
The news comes three days after ESPN’s Jay Bilas put the NCAA on blast for the merchandise on its website, ShopNCAASports.com. Bilas took to Twitter to post multiple examples of players’ corresponding jerseys resulting from searches of the players’ names in the search bar.
Hours after the media trumpeted Bilas’ find, the NCAA removed the search bar from its website in a laughable, nothing-to-see-here move.
According to CBS Sports, today Emmert said he could “certainly see how people would think it’s hypocritical” for the NCAA to profit off of player’s likenesses so transparently. Emmert added, “I don’t believe we should have been in that business.”
The timing of Bilas’ story coincided with reports that the NCAA was investigating Manziel for possibly selling his autograph, which would be a violation of the NCAA’s rules on amateurism. Instead of becoming a story about a player receiving improper benefits, it morphed into a serious look at NCAA structure and the unfair balance of everyone in the NCAA benefiting financially from players, besides the players.
The incident is the latest black eye for the NCAA as it carries on its antitrust legal case spearheaded by former college basketball star Ed O’Bannon. If the case earns class action status, former players could sue the NCAA for damages and that could potentially reach billions of dollars.
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