Those who bought Derrick Rose's Memphis jersey or O.J. Mayo's USC jersey probably wish they had a four-year guy like UNC center Tyler Hansbrough to root for.
After all, in a day and age when the most marketable college players are one-and-done, Tarheels fans have really gotten great use of their No. 50 Hansbroughs. In his four years at North Carolina, Hansbrough became the school's leading scorer and rebounder and the ACC's all-time leading scorer.
That's why, when Hansbrough concludes his career tonight with the national championship game, fans who've worn his jersey for years can certainly feel good about their investment.
Given the heritage of North Carolina and Hansbrough's longevity, his jersey — which will be retired — will go down as one of the best-selling jerseys in college history. North Carolina No. 50 jerseys was the top selling jersey among all college jerseys in 2008, according to Matt Powell of SportsOneSource, a sports market retail tracking firm.
"In the past when we'd have player jerseys in stock, we would wait until we run out to order more," said Christian Campbell, manager of the Tarheel Book Store, which during basketball season sells at least one Hansbrough jersey a day. "But that's the one jersey we keep in stock."
Campbell says that the book store typically has 100 No. 50 replica jerseys in stock and that the Hansbrough jerseys outsell other players by a 10-to-1 margin.
In fact, while not one Michigan State player jersey is being sold on eBay today, there were 77 Hansbrough jerseys available.
Can't find a kid's version? Amazon sells them.
I'm not into the NCAA paying players since it can't really be legally done, but it's long overdue for elite players to at least get money for their jersey sales. While No. 50 jerseys don't have Hansbrough's name on the back, the NCAA and UNC knows that having No. 50 to sell is much better than selling No. 1.
My proposal is the same as in years past.
Give the kid four percent of the gross sales of his jerseys and put it in escrow if you must. But saying that Hansbrough should be happy to get his scholarship when you are directly cashing in on him continues to be unethical.
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