In what is considered the first deal of its kind, Michigan’s official athletic retail store The M Den announced on Saturday that it is teaming up with Wolverines soccer players to create custom jerseys for sale with the player’s name and number on the back.
In the past, retailers were prohibited from selling college jerseys bearing the names of current players. But with the recent passage of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) laws and rules, The M Den is now allowed to sell the jerseys as a custom product.
âAt the moment, the only authorization we have is to do this through our custom swimwear program,â said The M Den president and co-owner Scott Hirth. âWe could print any of the 10 billion people on the planet with their name and number on the planet, with the exception of the current players two weeks ago. So the only thing that has changed now is that we can add to the 10 billion people on the planet, the 130 players on the team. We don’t have the capacity to make 1,000 for player X and make it a stock program. not to say that next Tuesday we can’t do it, but for now, that’s what we can do. “
Currently, the university does not allow the direct sale of officially licensed products bearing the player’s name and number. However, the custom jersey option is a loophole around this rule that the university was happy to welcome. Customers can go to the website, click on a drop-down menu that lists positions and player names to choose from, and create a personalized jersey for a Michigan soccer player.
Mr. Den worked with former Michigan soccer player Jared Wangler, who set up Valiant Management Group, an NIL agency, to help secure contracts with the players. Wangler was with the squad from 2014 to 2018, and he still knows most of the players on the roster. He says that at this point there are about 60 Michigan footballers registered, with more in the works.
âWe have a relationship with Scott Hirth at The M Den, and I’ve been putting that on his radar for four or five months now,â Wangler said. âIt was the first deal we wanted to do for the guys. I was there last week, I met all the players and I had a contract to review and I helped everyone to s ‘enroll. We’re trying to maximize that for Michigan and make it the first school for NIL. “
The deal will pay each player the same amount per shirt sold and pay each player quarterly. If one player is more popular than another and sells more jerseys, he will earn more money, but each player will have the opportunity to earn the same amount per jersey.
“The rules on this are two weeks old and change daily. I said as long as your eligibility exists at the University of Michigan, we will pay you for the right to put your name and number on a jersey,” he said. Hirth said. “At this time, our contract with each player is for the duration of their eligibility in Michigan.”
For now, this is an exclusive partnership between The M Den and Michigan student-athletes. They may not take advantage of other jersey sales that are not part of the Nike Custom Soccer Jerseys offering.
The rules change, and they are also different from state to state and school to school. For example, Georgia has published rules for its players that will not allow student-athletes to use the school’s trademarks or the Power G logo. The University of Michigan technically still has a similar rule, but it relaxes these rules by allowing The M Den to create personalized jerseys.