University of Utah Ditches Merchandiser After Questionable T-shirt Post
The University of Utah Trademarks and Licensing Program said it will no longer do business with a Salt Lake City-based merchandise company following a post on social media of an inappropriate T-shirt.
According to KSL.com, Offside Apparel, an independent business that sells Utah Utes memorabilia, posted a photo of another company's design poking fun at the University of Utah's in-state rival Brigham Young University. The shirt said, "The Only Cougar I Like Is Your Mom."
Offisde Apparel never sold the shirt, but posted it on the Web because Offside Apparel's owner, Nate Bowen, said it was relevant to the store's target market.
"Offside Apparel received an agreement violation notice from the University of Utah's trademark management service company's legal team alleging Offside Apparel of selling unapproved designs," Bowen said to KSL.com. "To avoid any further conflict or confusion, the posts were promptly removed from all 'Running Red Shirts' social media pages."
Brett Eden, director of the University of Utah Trademarks and Licensing Program, said the decision to sever its ties with Offside Apparel has nothing to do with the shirt, and that the company had breached its contract with the school in the past.
"The reason they weren't renewed is because of a pattern of behavior that didn't align with their contractual obligations," Eden told KSL.com. "We've had several conversations over the past year, [and told the company], 'Hey, we see you're selling this. The artwork hasn't been submitted. We can't approve it. Stop selling it.' To their credit, in most of those cases, they did stop selling it."
Though the university approves more than 400 licensing agreements at a time, allowing Offside Apparel to reapply for an agreement, Bowen, a University of Utah alumnus, told KSL.com that he isn't interested.