Mississippi State quarterback Dakota “Dak” Prescott is suing a small t-shirt company for selling shirts featuring “Dak” slogans. NCAA bylaws force the quarterback to pursue litigation or risk ineligibility.
The offending t-shirt features a bearded bulldog–the team mascot–underneath the slogan “Dak Dynasty.” Below the bulldog, the shirt proclaims, “That’s a fact, Dak!”
The MSU quarterback’s lawyer told the Clarion-Ledger that the t-shirt vender was sent multiple cease and desist letters but all were ignored. The next step, the attorney noted, was a lawsuit.
University spokesman Sid Salter agreed with the lawsuit saying, “The university believes it’s appropriate for Dak to defend himself and protect his rights as an individual.”
Apparently the shirt also puts the player’s eligibility in danger and violates NCAA rules.
If a student-athlete’s name or picture appears on commercial items (e.g., T-shirts, sweatshirts, serving trays, playing cards, posters) or is used to promote a commercial product sold by an individual or agency without the student-athlete’s knowledge or permission, the student-athlete (or the institution acting on behalf of the student-athlete) is required to take steps to stop such an activity in order to retain his or her eligibility for intercollegiate athletics. Such steps are not required in cases in which a student-athlete’s photograph is sold by an individual or agency (e.g., private photographer, news agency) for private use.
The university reports that they have sent other venders cease and desist notices this year in an attempt to stop them from cashing in on Prescott’s popularity.
NCAA-aligned universities reserve the right to make money off their players. But NCAA rules currently prevent the players from financially benefiting from merchandizing.
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