Joey Bosa fans looking to show their favorite player support by purchasing a #97 jersey this year are going to find themselves out of luck. Cardale Jones’ #12…no dice on that one either. In fact the only numbers that you’re going to find on Buckeye jerseys for sale this year are #1 and #15. Why?
Ohio State, like many other schools, is watching closely the ongoing courtroom battles over student athletes and whether or not they deserve a cut of the sales of merchandise connected to individual players. And while that all plays out, programs like OSU are restricting the items that they put out. And that means limiting the jersey numbers available to the public. So, this year, fans will only be able to purchase licensed Buckeye gear with the numbers 1 and 15 on them. (Customized jerseys with numbers and fan’s names are still available.)
Why those numbers? Ohio State will tell you that the #1 has nothing to do with Braxton Miller. It has to do with being a winner and the Buckeyes are the champs. And the number 15? Don’t be silly; that has nothing to do with Buckeye superstar Ezekiel Elliott. It has to do with the year…2015. Purely a coincidence that Miller and Elliott wear those numbers.
Retailers have concerns about what the restrictions will mean for sales. But so long as universities and programs could find themselves on the hook for big bucks, they’ll likely continue limiting the athlete-specific items they release to reduce their own level of financial risk. (jj)
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