Attorney General Seeks to Shut Down Production of Unauthorized Jasper Howard T-Shirts

JasperHowardTee-2TUConn and Jasper Howard figured significantly in the past weekend of college football action.  West Virginia’s classy ovation for the UConn team, pre-game moment of silence and “We are all Huskies” sign together made for a fitting tribute to UConn’s fallen star, Jasper Howard.

Howard and Huskies also figured prominently in an interesting business and legal situation.  After the UConn Co-op quickly sold out of Howard’s #6 T-shirts, UConn moved quickly to satisfy demand for the shirts.  Although UConn athletics is in the midst of a $45.5 million exclusive sponsorship contract with Nike (Big Money Heading to Storrs: UConn Athletics and Nike Agree on $45.5 Million Contract), Nike apparently could not produce #6 shirts and deliver them to UConn quickly enough. 

Thus, presumably with Nike’s blessing, a UConn-licensed #6 shirt was made by Tee’s Plus/Powers Inc. in Groton, Conn. and is already on sale at the UConn Co-op (and at, 13 Bob’s Stores locations and Husky Wear in the Shoppes at Buckland Hills in Manchester.

The story does not end there, as Game Day Tease, a Pennsylvania Company, began selling shirts and towels memorializing Howard.  Although Game Day Tease pledges to donate all profits to a charity, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal blew the whistle on the merchandise:

“I am demanding that immediately cease selling Jasper Howard merchandise in violation of state charity and copyright laws,” Blumenthal said in a written statement.

Blumenthal wrote in a Friday letter to that its actions violated a Connecticut state law that requires all “commercial co-ventures be registered with the Public Charities Unit” and that all advertisements for a charitable sales promotion disclose “the amount per unit of goods or services purchased or used that is to benefit the charitable organization or purpose.”

Braden Byler, who runs Game Day  Tease, denies any wrong doing:

Byler, a former soccer player at the State University of New York at Buffalo, said the business is removing UConn’s “C” logo from the Game Day Tease products to satisfy copyright rules and is taking other steps to comply with state and federal laws.

“We’re trying to do the right thing and trying to go about it the right way,” said Byler, whose company is based in Presto, Penn., near Pittsburgh. “If they want to twist and turn it around and try to make us look like bad guys for trying to help, that’s not right.”

Game Day Tease also posted a message on the homepage of its website, promising that all proceeds will indeed go to charity.

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