An astute reader sent me an email last week noting the absence of #27 jerseys on the official Georgia website and wondered if the school made a deliberate choice to do so in the wake of O’Bannon. Good question, and one that prompted a little digging on my part.
I can’t say for sure if that’s motivated Georgia, but it looks like other schools have decided to do just that.
The Nebraska athletic department is joining lots of other schools in limiting the numbers on the jerseys fans can buy. For this year, only No. 1 and No. 15 — as in 2015 — will be sold at the Huskers Authentic team store. Next year, it’ll be 1 and 16.
Licensees selling jerseys are limited to the same numbers, and nobody gets a grandfather clause.
And the change isn’t just for football, but for all sports that have jersey replicas for sale.
The new policy was announced in the last paragraph of a news release for Football Fan Day, which this year takes place on Aug. 5.
“Basically, we do not want to attribute any number to any specific student-athlete,” said David Witty, senior associate athletic director for marketing and communications.
The University of Miami announced a similar policy two weeks ago.
And Witty, interviewed by phone, said it was apparent from Big Ten Media Days in Chicago that other Big Ten teams are doing the same thing.
“It’s pretty consistent,” he said. “This is becoming the norm.”
I’ll say this – it certainly lowers the hypocrisy level, which is a refreshing change. Though I’ll be interested to see what happens to sales when fans can’t buy jerseys with their favorite players’ numbers on them.