Companies Profit Off College Football Players’ Names Without Having To Mention Players’ Names

Searching for "Manziel" brings up his jersey, even though his name is nowhere on it or in the description.

Searching for “Manziel” brings up his jersey, even though his name is nowhere on it or in the description.

Manufacturers of licensed NCAA jerseys are not allowed to produce items with players’ names on the back, allegedly to maintain the “amateur” image of college athletics and allow apparel companies to claim they aren’t making truckloads of cash on the shoulders of scholar/athletes who receive no direct money for all the tickets and merchandise sold each year. But search results on the NCAA’s own e-commerce site shows that the organization and apparel companies make money off players’ names without having to actually mention those names.

As Business Insider points out, searching for “Manziel” on doesn’t bring up a “did not match any products” result like it would by searching for my last name (which is relatively uncommon, but is probably not as rare as Manziel). Instead, it pulls up four separate “#2” jerseys for Texas A&M football, which just happens to be the team on which Heisman-winner (and amateur oversleeper) Johnny Manziel plays — oh, and Manziel happens to wear #2.

In fact, the only non-#2 item on the search results is a customizable Texas A&M basketball jersey.

Business Insider tried the names of several other notable players at other schools and got similar results.

So while the NCAA has this no-names-on-the-jerseys policy to supposedly prevent companies like Adidas from cashing in on names of high-profile athletes, its own site is directing customers straight to those players’ jerseys.

The NCAA, along with Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company, is currently embroiled in a lawsuit filed by former college athletes who claim that the defendants illegally profited from using their likenesses without permission. is licensed to a company called Fanatics Retail Group, but it is linked seamlessly from the homepage on, itself a joint venture of the NCAA and Turner Sports Interactive.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.