ESPN’s Jay Bilas Exposes NCAA’s Hypocrisy On Amateurism With Simple Web Search


Jay Bilas

Jay Bilas


The NCAA has removed the search function from its shopping web site Tuesday after ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, an avowed proponent of paying college athletes, exposed the lie behind one of the organization’s central arguments for amateurism.

Tuesday afternoon, Bilas began searching the NCAA Shop web site — — for specific player names, starting with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and rotating through a litany of other notable players, from Southern California wide receiver Marqise Lee to Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to Kentucky basketball player Nerlens Noel. Those search results should have yielded nothing, because NCAA rules prohibit adding names to jerseys or selling merchandise based around an individual player (the NCAA has for years argued that it’s a mere coincidence that all the jerseys correspond with notable players).

Instead, searching for specific players took Bilas straight to the pages where their jerseys — or, in NCAA parlance, the jerseys that just happen to be from their team and feature their numbers — were for sale. He posted the results on Twitter:

After Bilas posted multiple results on Twitter, the NCAA removed the search function from its web site and refused to comment on the matter when asked by USA Today. You can still search the web site by adding /search/ and then a player’s name to the end of the URL.

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA last year for improperly using the names, images, and likenesses of college athletes. Throughout the suit, the NCAA has maintained that it does use names and likenesses of college athletes to make money.

The NCAA is currently investigating Johnny Manziel, the defending Heisman Trophy winner, for accepting payments to sign autographs, which would violate the same rule that prevents names from appearing on replica jerseys. While Manziel and other players can’t make money off of their names or likenesses, though, the NCAA and its members are using them to help bring in the dough: the replica jerseys sell for anywhere from $49.95 to $89.95 each.