Entertainment & Sports Law

College football coaches seek to cash in on their names


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Bill Snyder, football coach at Kansas State University.
Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Some college football coaches are seeking to profit from their names through trademarks and licensing rights.

USA Today has a story on the phenomenon. Well-known coaches “are arriving at increasingly creative ways to define and protect their rights and financial interests,” the story says, even as college athletes are not compensated for use of their names and likenesses.

The story offers these examples:

• Clemson University head football coach Dabo Swinney has trademarked his name, and sells merchandise with his name through the school’s licensing program.

• Kansas State University head football coach Bill Snyder has a licensing agreement with the school for use of his name and likeness. The deal acknowledges, however, that he is due no further money for use of his name in connection with the stadium.

• University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian has the right to approve all uses of his name, voice, signature and likeness.

Meanwhile, Ohio State University has applied to trademark the name of coach Urban Meyer and the phrase “Urban Meyer knows.” Meyer signed over the rights in May 2012, according to a lawsuit against a T-shirt vendor covered in a story by Columbus Business First.

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