• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -

College Sports’ New Threads

  • Since the NIL era began, athletes have waded into apparel sales.
  • Some have launched their own shops, while others are working with companies or school retailers.
Photo: Rand Bleimeister-UCLA Athletics/Design: Alex Brooks

When the clock struck midnight on July 1, athletes started profiting off their NIL. As many predicted, some of the first ventures included sponsorship deals and social media endorsement posts.

But athletes also waded into one of the more traditional ways to make money in the sports world: Apparel sales. 

Some have gone off on their own to manufacture and sell clothes; some have signed on with companies to co-design them; others will be compensated for the use of their names on the backs of official school jerseys.

The Coveted Jersey

Buying a player’s jersey has been one of the most common ways for fans to support their favorite athletes in the pros. That wasn’t possible in NCAA sports until now.

Last week, The M Den, the official licensed retailer for the University of Michigan athletics, announced it would pay football players to have their names on the backs of jerseys, The Action Network first reported. 

As of Tuesday, about 100 players had agreed to the deal, Jared Wangler, whose company Valiant brokered the deal, told FOS. Players will get a cut of sales for the jerseys that will be sold for either $120 or $180 each.

UNC went a step further. The school announced on Tuesday that it is launching a group licensing program open to all athletes who can sign deals to profit from “apparel and non-apparel” items featuring their likenesses alongside the UNC logo.

Individual Designs

It’s not just jerseys — athletes are getting creative with other clothing designs too. Iowa basketball player Jordan Bohannon launched his own shop, selling T-shirts with his notable phrase “Thanks for the memz” for about $33 each. 

Nebraska volleyball player Lexi Sun teamed up with REN Athletics to sell $58 long-sleeve black crew necks with gold suns.

And several players — from UCLA gymnast Margzetta Frazier to Kentucky basketball player Dontaie Allen — are selling apparel and other experiences on The Players Trunk, which previously could only offer former players’ game-worn clothing. These current players can now sell original designs on the website.

“Now’s really the first chance you have to support your favorite [college] athletes,” co-founder Austin Pomerantz told FOS. And already, the popularity of these items have “exceeded our wildest expectations.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Noah Lyles

Money for Medals: Olympics Prize Payout Signals New Era for Athlete Compensation

Industry leaders continue to recognize changing factors across sports.

Deion Sanders: NFL Teams Manipulate Draft Positions

Coach Prime joined ‘Front Office Sports Today’ to discuss the state of college football.

The Biggest Star at the Men’s Final Four Mostly Missed the NIL Gold Rush

‘I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of money,’ Edey said ahead of Purdue’s win this weekend.

Redefining Rosters: Transfer Portal Surge Is Transforming College Hoops

Activity thus far on the transfer portal is up by more than 25% compared to last year.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Inside the Most-Hyped WNBA Draft in History


Featured Today

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.
Mar 31, 2024; Portland, OR, USA; NCAA officials measure the three point line while coaches from the Texas Longhorns and NC State Wolfpack watch with referees in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center center.
April 1, 2024

NCAA Has No One to Blame for Latest Women’s March Madness Transgressions

NCAA is still making avoidable mistakes three years after a complete overhaul.
Nov 16, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; General view of the championship banners at Assembly Hall prior to the game between Austin Peay and Indiana.
March 31, 2024

How to Make It in Basketball: Become a Manager at Indiana

Inside the Hoosiers’ unglamorous, profoundly rewarding incubator for basketball’s biggest names.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Dunham's Sports
Multiple - USA Careers

‘Nothing Is Off the Table’: New AAC Commissioner Isn’t Afraid of the Controversial Ideas

Tim Pernetti told reporters he’s specifically interested in private equity—and didn’t rule out athlete employment or unionization models.
April 9, 2024

John Calipari’s Kentucky Exit Is As Slow and Awkward As a Dog in a Stroller

Calipari steps away from Kentucky with the Arkansas deal still unofficial.
April 10, 2024

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer Retires With ACC Move Looming

She set the all-time coaching record with 1,216 wins.

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
April 9, 2024

Simultaneous Final Fours: An Untenable Logistical Conundrum

The women’s Final Four has gotten much too big to take place at the exact same time—in a different location—as its men’s counterpart.
April 8, 2024

With Back-To-Back Titles, UConn Proves Basketball Is About More Than Power

Unlike in FBS football, a non-Power 5 basketball school can dominate.
April 8, 2024

South Carolina’s Title Win Smashes Ratings Records in Caitlin Clark’s Finale

The NCAA title game became the most-watched women’s college basketball game.
April 8, 2024

NAIA Votes to Ban Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports

Could the NCAA follow the NAIA in its transgender women ban?