LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Michael Penix Jr. slammed forward for the most remarkable extra point the Indiana University football program converted in generations last October.
The conversion beat Penn State. It ignited the Hoosiers' 6-2 season. It generated conversations about IU football across multiple platforms.
Don't forget this: It became a T-shirt.
Homefield Apparel is a brand developed by IU grads. Homefield has licensing deals with about a hundred schools. Its T-shirts percolate with personality, humor and old school logos. IU, Louisville and Western Kentucky have relationships with Homefield.
To celebrate that extra point, Homefield created a shirt it called, "The Reach."
It featured a right hand, well, reaching for the pylon, just the way Penix reached for the pylon for the decisive two points in Indiana's 36-35 victory over the Nittany Lions.
The shirt, priced at $30, sold out in several weeks.
Michael Penix's name was not on the shirt. The image of his right hand certainly was.
In 2020, that right hand was worth $0.00 to Penix.
What might it be worth in 2021? Stay tuned. We're about to find out.
On Thursday, the day college sports began to shake with the transformational reality that athletes are clear to monetize their name, image and likeness. The Reach is the most recent real-life example I can share about how the game should change.
Pick your favorite local example:
At Louisville, maybe Lamar Jackson's iconic leap at Syracuse or a Darrell Griffith dunk.
At Kentucky, Wesley Woodyard's crunching tackle against Louisiana State or Anthony Davis staring down a jump shooter with his eyebrows.
At Indiana, the Penix dive at the pylon or Steve Alford without a hair out of place at the foul line.
The catalogue of basketball and football royalty is extensive.
The time has come to turn those plays into $$$.
T-shirts. Hats. Autographed pictures. Wrist bands. Head bands. Socks. Sneakers. Game-worn equipment. I'm sure I'm certain I'm forgetting something.
For athletes this should be a teaching moment beyond anything they learn in the classroom. It will be a crash course in marketing, sales, advertising and personal economics. Even folks who don't go to class are guaranteed to learn something.
Some folks are likely to be worth more than they imagine. I hate to be a downer but heartbreak will be inevitable.
Opening Day delivered a crazy collection of ideas. I never imagined that Hanna and Haley Cavinder would rank at the top of the early winners. Had to be the quarterback at Clemson or the point guard at Duke, right?
Wrong. The Cavinder Twins play basketball at Fresno State but cut a deal with Boost Mobile in New York. Haley averaged 19.8 points last season while her sister averaged 17 for a team that won the NIT.
I said NIT, not NCAA title.
What am I missing?
Their 3 million or so followers on TikTok, Instagram and other forms of social media. News flash: The twins also have a deal with Six Star Nutrition.
If you logged on to social media, the marketplace was alive and well with athletes pitching their per hour rate of availability to brighten your day.
How much would you pay to have your favorite college quarterback spend an hour at your child's birthday and toss a football with all of her or his friends?
Do I hear $275? $300? Is that hand waving in the corner signaling $500? A grand? Several grand to pose for pictures, too?
Your business is sagging? You need somebody to electrify a routine sales meeting? There will be plenty of volunteers to handle that.
A check across social media uncovered athletes pitching lemonade, grooming products, food, fireworks and other goodies.
And apparel. Plenty of apparel.
If somebody makes the kind of play that Penix made for Indiana last season, the apparel company and the school likely won't be the only ones to profit from that.
That's a good thing. At least I believe that is a good thing.
But what about the guys who blocked for the guy who made the winning play? Don't deserve a cut of the money? Or the second-teamers that coaches like to tell us sharpened the skills of the first-teamers in practice?
We're about to find out. Buckle up. It's going to be a fascinating ride.
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