LSU, Oklahoma among schools to offer customizable jerseys with players receiving compensation

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Sports Pictures USA Today

Several schools have announced plans to offer wide distribution of player-specific jerseys through a partnership between Fanatics and OneTeam Partners that was announced on Thursday. So far, LSU, Oklahoma, Washington and Penn State are among the programs that have publicly announced their participation.

Registration means that every player who signs up for the scheme will have their shirt available for purchase ahead of the 2022 football season. All shirt sales will result in player compensation under newly authorized name legislation, the Image and Likeness (NIL) that has taken college athletics by storm since July 1.

“For the first time ever, fans will be able to purchase authentic jerseys of their favorite LSU Tigers, and student-athletes will directly benefit from every sale,” said LSU athletic director Scott Woodward. “We look forward to seeing our jerseys on the sidelines and in the stands inside Tiger Stadium next season, and we look forward to more co-branded products for our student-athletes across all sports.”

Player shirts have long been a source of controversy when it comes to sports merchandising. For decades, official college jersey sales haven’t had a name on the back, even if jerseys like LSU No. 9 (Joe Burrow) or Oklahoma No. 6 (Baker Mayfield) aren’t so subtly ranked among the best sellers. The partnership between merchandiser Fanatics and group licensing specialist OneTeam attempts to connect these dots.

“Large-scale group rights for college athletes is the only way to move this agenda forward,” said Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics College. “Aligning with OneTeam was a critical step in developing a scalable and effective varsity jersey program.”

A statement notes that the co-branded jersey program was offered to “dozens” of schools on Thursday. LSU is the first to offer jersey releases at a nearly unanimous level, but other schools may announce in the coming days.

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