College basketball analyst Jay Bilas drew national attention Tuesday for exposing the latest example of the NCAA's hypocrisy. The embattled governing body of college sports claimed in recent court filings that it does not sell specific player jerseys and thus profit off of an athletes likeness—allegedly those jerseys are just generic representations of their respective schools.
Bilas blew apart that theory by demonstrating that you can enter a player's name into the search function for NCAA's online store and find replicas of the jersey he wears. For example, a search for Mason Plumlee leads to a screen full of Duke No. 5 jerseys and shirts. The same phenomenon occurs when searching for other prominent athletes, like Johnny Manziel, Nerlens Noel and many more.
Bilas's exposé comes at a particularly critical time for the NCAA, as the organization is dealing with a federal antitrust lawsuit that challenges its right to profit of an athlete's likeness and facing a potential investigation into allegations that Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback, profited from selling his signature to multiple autograph dealers. Bilas spoke with the N&O about the above topics and the NCAA in general.
That was quite the Twitter sensation you had yesterday.
I didn’t intend for any of that stuff to happen. I just went to the site and tweeted about it when I saw it. Truth be told, what made it an issue wasn’t necessarily the points that were being made, it was as soon as the NCAA or whoever is running their site shut the search capability down.
Were you surprised you reacted as quickly as they did?