It has not been a good month for Garrett Gilbert. The Texas quarterback was benched midway through the Sept. 10 game against BYU and was demoted to third string for the next week’s game against UCLA. Then, he underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder.
Now, the No. 7 jersey — the number worn by Gilbert in football games — is being sold at a discounted price at all six of the University Co-op stores around the state.
“We hate to mark the jerseys off because obviously it’s a reflection on him,” said Co-op President George H. Mitchell. “That’s not fair because he’s been forced to take the blame for all of Texas’ struggles last season.”
Nike, the official supplier of Texas athletics, dictated that the Co-op sell No. 1 uniforms (the number worn by linebacker Keenan Robinson and wide receiver Mike Davis) as well as the rest of the No. 7 jerseys the store still had in stock from last season when public discontent with Gilbert and the football team’s losing record (5-7) hurt sales.
A No. 7 men’s jersey usually runs at a cost of $75 for the stitched version and $60 for a printed jersey. Those figures have been slashed in half. Fans can now buy a No. 7 printed men’s jersey for a mere $30 — the price of an i>clicker. That is, if they even think it’s worth that much.
“I wouldn’t spend $30 on it,” said physical culture and sports freshman Kevin Russell, who was shopping at the Co-op on Wednesday afternoon. “I’d rather get a Case McCoy jersey.”
The Co-op decided to put the jerseys on sale Monday afternoon. According to Mitchell, there are about 1,000 No. 7 jerseys — which are made for men, women and children, stitched and printed — waiting on the shelves.
“We really don’t know what the business effects are going to be, if they’re going to sell or not,” Mitchell said. “We’ve never had to do this.”
The Co-op had a hard enough time selling No. 7 jerseys after last season. Now that Gilbert is out for the year and Nolan Brewster — the only other member of the team to wear No. 7 — gave up football because of a history of concussions, the Co-op had to make a proactive move.
“We didn’t get any new No. 7s this year,” Mitchell said. “They were old from the last season. I feel sorry for [Gilbert] because he’s taking all the blame for it, and, though it is a team game, it’s his jersey that we’re marking off.”
In addition to cutting the costs of the No. 7 jersey in half, the store is now selling No. 6 jerseys, the number of new quarterback McCoy and safety Christian Scott.
“We’re allowed to print blank jerseys, so long as there’s no name on the back,” Mitchell said. “So we printed about 100 with No. 6 on them.”
When asked if he would consider printing more should McCoy continue to succeed, Mitchell replied, “It’s early in the season. He’s started one game. We’ll have to see how he does.”
Longhorns Ltd., the official store of the Texas athletic department, hasn’t marked the No. 7 jersey down yet. Neither has Academy Sports & Outdoors, though it has struggled to get it off the racks. According to an apparel manager of the East William Cannon Drive store, who chose to remain anonymous, only three No. 7 uniforms have been sold in the past week.
“They aren’t selling as much as Texas jerseys have in the past.”
Printed Thursday, September 29, 2011 as: Co-op sells Gilbert jerseys at discount