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NCAA Jerseys of Star Players No Longer Sold, Thanks to Jay Bilas

Image: NCAA Jerseys of Star Players No Longer Sold, Thanks to Jay Bilas

Friday, 09 Aug 2013 09:11 AM

By Clyde Hughes

The NCAA has stopped selling jerseys of star players after a Twitter campaign by ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas showed how jerseys sold on ShopNCAASports.com were connected to specific athletes.

During a conference call, NCAA president Mark Emmert said the organization realized the practice could be perceived as hypocritical of the NCAA's stands of amateurism, reported the Washington Post.

"In the national office we certainly recognize why that could be seen as hypocritical indeed," Emmert said during the call. "The business of having the NCAA sell those kinds of goods is a mistake, and we’re going to exit that business immediately."

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On Tuesday, Bilas – a former Duke basketball player and an attorney – started sending out tweeted searches with names of current college stars and showing how the NCAA site would offer jerseys for sale that matched those searches, reported The Wire and other news media, including the Plain Dealer in Cleveland.

"Jay Bilas may have broken the NCAA today. And it was beautiful," wrote the Plain Dealer's David Lesmerises. "These are players who are not compensated for the sale of memorabilia. These are players whose likenesses are used in video games, without compensation."

Lesmerises said the NCAA pulled the plug on the website shortly after Bilas's tweets started to gain national attention.

Six current college football players joined a federal lawsuit by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, becoming the first active athletes as plaintiffs in the antitrust suit against the NCAA over the use of players' names, images and likenesses, reported AL.com in June.

Johnny Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy last season, is under investigation by the NCAA for accepting money for signing autographs and could face a lengthy suspension, according to the Bleacher Report.

Emmert told the Washington Post he didn’t know why or when the NCAA started selling player jerseys on its online store.

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"I don’t believe it should have been in that business,” said Emmert. "I don’t think it’s something that’s appropriate for us, and we’re going to exit it."

Emmert told reporters that the NCAA got no revenue from the sale of player-specific merchandise on its online store and served only as a middle-man for the transactions.

Related stories:

College Football Set to Overtake Baseball as Nation's No. 2 Sport

Jay Bilas, ESPN Analyst, Find NCAA Hypocrisy in Player Marketing

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