The NCAA will no longer sell athletic jerseys on its website.
NCAA president Mark Emmert acknowledged Thursday during a conference call with reporters that offering the apparel on its e-commerce site — ShopNCAASports.com — was a “mistake” and “hypocritical” when the athletes gain no profit from the revenue.
He said all such items would be taken off the site as quickly as possible.
USA Today found this week in a web search that typing in a player’s name such as Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron would bring up his jersey on an NCAA site. College basketball commentator Jay Bilas also drew attention to the issue with his critical posts on Twitter after doing similar searches this week.
“There’s no compelling reason the NCAA should essentially be re-selling paraphernalia from institutions,” Emmert said. “I can’t speak to why we entered into that enterprise, but it’s not something that’s appropriate for us, and we’re going to exit it.”
Emmert does not believe the NCAA made money off the sale of the merchandise, but going forward, he said, the site will only offer merchandise with the NCAA logo and not team jerseys.
“I think the business of having the NCAA sell those kind of goods is a mistake,” he said. “It was inappropriate for us to be in that business, and I can certainly see how that would be seen as hypocritical.”
The e-commerce site is copyrighted by Fanatics Retail Group but branded with the NCAA’s official logo and links to NCAA.com.
The NCAA is also facing multiple lawsuits over the names and likenesses of college athletes.