Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Eye-Black Ban By NCAA Will Hit Businesses

Brandon Sanders #14 of the Mississippi Rebels looks on as he displays a Bible verse on his eye black strip prior to the game against the Memphis Tigers.
Joe Robbins | Getty Images

If you haven't yet heard, the NCAA's latest ban involves eye black. Under the new rule, eye black must be solid black with no words, numbers, logos or other symbols.

The impetus to make a move here came as players started taking silver Sharpies to their eye black to fill them with messages, most notably Reggie Bush with 619 (the San Diego area code where he grew up) and Tim Tebow with his bible verse numbers.

There will be at least two businesses affected by this decision.

The first is Mueller, the sports equipment company that has been receiving free advertising on eye black for years. Since the company started to sell its eye black sticker product years ago, it put "Mueller" inside every sticker.

That meant that every time an equipment manager bought from Mueller, his players would automatically be endorsing Mueller.

If they got lucky and got on the space below the eyes of a star player, you'd see the Mueller name make an appearance in Sports Illustrated. A company spokesman told us they'd have no comment on the NCAA ruling.

The other affected company will be, a company that has been selling team logo eye black. Over the past couple years, college football players could also be seen in photos and on television wearing this company's eye black, which certainly helped sell the product to the team's superfans.

Company CEO Peter Beveridge said he's not sure the impact it will have on his business yet. He's also not sure why the NCAA took the ban so far.

"If you are going to take team logos off eye black, why don't we start taking them off wristbands and jerseys?" Beveridge asks.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christensen says "the measure reinforces the intended use of eye black, which is to shade eyes from the sun."

Beveridge says that his product, despite having the logo in the middle, still serves that purpose.

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