Several schools have announced plans to offer wide release 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 participation.
The enrollment means that every player who opts into the program will have their jersey available to purchase prior to the 2022 football season. All jersey sales will result in player compensation as a part of the newly-allowed name, image and likeness (NIL) legislation 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," LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said. "We cannot wait to see our jerseys on the sidelines and in the stands inside Tiger Stadium next season, and we eagerly anticipate additional player co-branded products for our student-athletes across all sports."
Player jerseys have long been a source of controversy in relation to athletic merchandising. For decades, official university jersey sales have not featured a name on the back -- even as jerseys like LSU No. 9 (Joe Burrow) or Oklahoma No. 6 (Baker Mayfield) not-so-subtly ranked as top sellers. The partnership between merchandiser Fanatics and group licensing specialist OneTeam tries to connect those dots.
"Broad-scale group rights for college athletes is the only pathway to bring this program forward," said Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics College. "Aligning with OneTeam was a critical step to develop a scalable and efficient college jersey program."
A release notes that the co-branded jersey program was offered to "dozens" of schools on Thursday. LSU is the first to offer the jersey releases at a nearly unanimous level, but more schools could announce in the coming days.