Ohio State not planning change to jersey sales policy

While some colleges have reportedly decided to stop selling jerseys bearing the numbers of current star players, Ohio State says it will not follow suit, at least not yet.

Ohio State trademark and licensing services director Rick Van Brimmer told Cleveland.com he is aware of the developments elsewhere but there have been no talks about offering generic jerseys instead of those bearing numbers worn by players such as two-time Big Ten football MVP Braxton Miller.

"Our plans for this product are made months in advance, so you will see numbered jerseys in the market this fall," Van Brimmer told the site. "including the continuation of our custom program where the purchaser chooses the number of their choice." 

Jerseys available on Ohio State’s official online store Friday evening included Miller’s No. 5, the No. 10 worn by receiver Philly Brown (and linebacker Ryan Shazier earlier last season), the No. 1 worn by All-Big Ten cornerback Bradley Roby and freshman return/running back/receiver Dontre Wilson and the No. 34 of All-Big Ten running back Carlos Hyde.

This news comes about a week after ESPN reported Northwestern, Arizona and Texas A&M plan to sell jerseys representing other things besides current players, including the Aggies’ student cheering section (The 12th Man) and current Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who wore No. 51 during his playing career in the mid-1990s.

The issue has come into focus amid a barrage of criticism and legal attacks on the NCAA, which recently settled a lawsuit regarding the use of player likenesses in college football and basketball video games. This week saw the beginning of a trial in federal court in California that could see the NCAA forced to suspend its current rules limiting players’ ability to market themselves and control the use of their likenesses.

However, the change in jersey numbers sold might be more symbolic than it is financially impactful. Per a report from ESPN last year, jersey sales — despite their high-profile nature — do not produce much income for schools.

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