Jay Bilas has successfully brought down an institution.
The NCAA announced Thursday that it will no longer be selling team-related merchandise through the website ShopNCAASports.com.
The announcement came two days after Bilas, an ESPN analyst, outed the site on Twitter for enabling searches for gear directly related to student-athletes, including jerseys with players’ corresponding numbers. The site responded by swiftly disabling its search function.
“There’s no compelling reason the NCAA should essentially be re-selling paraphernalia from institutions,” NCAA president Mark Emmert told reporters on a conference call. “I can’t speak to why we entered into that enterprise, but it’s not appropriate for us, and we’re going to exit it.”
Emmert stated that, to his knowledge, the NCAA makes no money from school-specific merchandise sold on the site, which is operated by Fanatics Retail Group, but he admitted that “having the NCAA sell those kind of goods is a mistake.” The shop will now sell only gear featuring the NCAA logo.
“I can certainly see how people would think it’s hypocritical,” Emmert said.
The NCAA is currently fighting multiple lawsuits over profiting from the names and likenesses of student-athletes.
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