The Michigan athletic department’s official retail store, The M Den, announced over the weekend that it is partnering with dozens of current football players to sell custom jerseys with their names and numbers.
In the past, NCAA rules prevented the sale of jerseys with the names of current players. Some schools even opted to use only the No. 1 and/or the current year (No. 21, for example) in order to avoid using a notable player’s number.
However, with student-athletes now able to profit from their name image and likeness, the M Den is selling the jerseys as part of its custom jersey section.
It’s worth noting the agreement is between the retailer and the players as opposed to the retailer and the university, which is why buyers are actually purchasing a customized jersey from a drop-down menu rather than an officially licensed product with the player’s name and number.
“Right this minute, the only permission we have is to do this through our custom jersey program,” The M Den’s co-owner Scott Hirth said. “We could print any of the other 10 billion people on the planet with their name and number on the planet, except for the current players two weeks ago.
“So, the only thing that changed is now we can add to the 10 billion people on the planet, the 130 players on the team. We don’t have the ability to make 1,000 of those for player X and make that a stock program. That doesn’t mean next Tuesday we can’t do that, but right now that’s what we can do.”
Retailers currently sell Michigan’s No. 1 and No. 4 – sans name – in screenprinted (game) and sewn (limited) options for $90 and $135 apiece. The customized jerseys naturally come with a higher price point at $120 and $180, respectively.
There is no difference in cost if you choose your own name and number or that of a current player. However, the more than 50 players who have signed an agreement with The M Den thus far will get more than $10 per jersey sold, which is reportedly twice as much as NFL players make from the sale of their own jerseys.
The jerseys of former players on the current Nike/Jordan Brand template – including former quarterback Tom Brady, cornerback Charles Woodson and safety Jabrill Peppers – have been on sale for some time, meanwhile. Those screenprinted options cost $100 each.
Photo courtesy of @UMichFootball on Twitter.