In order to preserve amateur status and prevent players from profiting off their own names and abilities, the NCAA doesn't allow apparel manufactures to put names on college football jerseys.
They sell "Texas A&M #2" jerseys, not "Johnny Manziel" jerseys, for example.
It's comically and transparently bogus, but the NCAA's insistence that a #2 jersey isn't a Johnny Manziel jersey allows them to cut players out of the profits.
Today, some people on Twitter discovered that the search results on ShopNCAASports.com show a direct connection between these supposedly non-specific "team jerseys" and real-life players.
Whenever you search a player's name, his corresponding jersey comes up, even though his name isn't anywhere to be found on the site, and under NCAA official policy they don't make specific player jerseys.
ShopNCAASports.com is run by a online retailer called Fanatics Inc. The website is linked to when you click "SHOP" on NCAA.com, and it licenses the NCAA name and logo. It claims to have the largest collection of college merchandise anywhere.
Shortly after we published this story, the search box function was disabled. We've contacted Fanatics Inc. for comment and are awaiting their response.
The search results for "Manziel" (Texas A&M QB):
"Clowney" (South Carolina DE):
"McCarron" (Alabama QB):
"Deanthony Thomas" (Oregon WR):
"Braxton Miller" (Ohio State QB):
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