Florida coach Dan Mullen said the program has repeatedly cautioned players about selling Jordan-branded gear, but that the situation is difficult to oversee.
“It’s really hard to monitor, in some ways. It’s a lot of education of our players. It is something we’ve discussed over and over, even before they got a pair of sneakers, we’ve discussed it over and over with them — the responsibilities that they have with it, that comes from that way,” Mullen said. “If you don’t want the shoes, just tell us, we won’t give them to you.”
The potential infraction has made headlines recently as several of the four football programs featuring Jordan-branded gear have come under scrutiny.
After self-reporting the violations to the NCAA, North Carolina announced last week that 13 players will miss games while serving suspensions for selling team-issued shoes. And Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he doesn’t expect any Wolverines players to be suspended for selling shoes, saying Monday all shoes issued to players have been accounted for. Harbaugh said any Jumpman-brand Michigan gear sold on the secondary market is due to former players and former assistant coaches initially having access to the gear.
Mullen didn’t delve into specifics about accounting for a student-athlete’s gear, instead stating the program attempts to see the situation from a player’s point of view and educate from their perspective.
“18- to 22-year-olds a lot of times, you’re always trying to view things through their eyes. That would be something when they’re like 60, and they’re sitting there with the grandkids — ‘hey, check out these things, I got this from this bowl game, I got that here’,” Mullen said. “You have some memorabilia and stuff, that type of thing that is kind of cool that they can have that they might not be thinking about right now. It’s something we remind them of. It’s a tough deal. You can make arguments on either side if you want.”
Michigan’s athletic program requires student-athletes sign and return forms that acknowledge any sale of team-issued gear will jeopardize eligibility. Michigan also said the players don’t receive boxes with the gear, and all names and numbers are written on gear before it is issued to a student-athlete.
Regardless of which company is featured on the team-issued gear, the resale of said apparel is hardly new to collegiate athletics.
“I was listening to (former Alabama quarterback) Greg McElroy the other day, right, and he said ‘you gave me a pair of shoes, they’re mine, they’re mine. What I do with them is my business, you gave them to me.’ All right, like, right. Kind of an interesting thought process in it all, but you know we just constantly are educating our guys on, you’re getting this special stuff because it’s memorabilia, you know what i mean?,” Mullen said. “I mean, it’s really cool to have this and wear them. The NCAA rules, if you break the rules, you’re not gonna be able to, we’re gonna take you off the list of getting player exclusive stuff.”