The Ed O'Bannon vs. NCAA lawsuit has opened the door for schools to one day license current players' names on merchandise. While the details in that matter are still being sorted out, Texas A&M is turning to the NFL to capitalize on one of its former star players.
ESPN's Darren Rovell reported on Tuesday that the NFLPA's deal with the school allows licensed retailers to produce Aggie-themed Manziel gear. The NFLPA told CFB 24/7 that there is no direct relationship between the school and the players association but the manufacturer did obtain seperate licenses from the NFLPA's group licensing program and from the Collegiate Licensing Company in order to make the shirts.
While A&M has previously licensed things like Manziel's No. 2 jersey to be sold, the items never had his name on them due to NCAA rules.
This seems to be just the latest item to add under the "Johnny Football Effect" list in College Station.
The school credits the Heisman Trophy winner's success as a big factor in raising more than $700 million in donations and fueling a number of fancy upgrades to the football team's facilities. The program's move to the SEC is likely an additional factor, but one can't discount Manziel's star status as being the biggest reason for the financial windfall.
Given how fervent Aggies fans can be, something says Texas A&M, Manziel and everybody else involved will receive a nice little check after the new licensed merchandise hits shelves.
The Manziel shirt that Rovell passed along comes from Original Retro Brand, which is also doing business with other schools for merchandise featuring current and former NFL players through their larger licensing deal with NFL Players Inc. For example, Arizona is selling T-shirts with former players Lance Briggs, Ka'Deem Carey, Nick Foles and Rob Gronkowski.
No word on pricing for the Manziel shirt, but perhaps we could suggest $37.06 as a nod to his passing yardage total in his Heisman-winning season.