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The Struggle of Purchasing MCLA Gear

I wanted to take some time to explain the process behind MCLA teams ordering gear for themselves and to sell to others, as the process is not as simple as you may think.

The majority of MCLA teams are almost entirely self-funded. Funds are raised through player dues, fundraising events, donations from alumni, family, friends, and from merchandise sales. If any of these sources of income decreases, a team’s budget can easily take a hit and in some extreme cases some teams will dissolve completely.

MCLA teams need to go through their school’s Trademark & Licensing Department to make gear for the players and gear to be sold to family, friends, alumni, and fans. This department at any school is usually pretty strict about which logos can be used. Power 5 schools are the most strict when it comes to this due to how massive Division 1 NCAA athletic programs are. MCLA teams are not only limited to which logos and fonts they are allowed to print on gear, but also limited on which vendors they can use to produce this gear. Schools will also force teams to put the word “club” on every piece of apparel even when there is no varsity lacrosse program on campus. The whole process can be difficult to navigate on its own and is even more difficult when you’re a full-time college student trying to balance school, lacrosse, a job, post-graduation plans, and most importantly, having fun.

Once a team has figured out which logos they can use and which vendors they can go through, they will open a team store. These stores will make a decent amount of money and are a good way to connect family, friends, and alumni to the current team.

When apparel companies or university bookstores sell lacrosse gear featuring a schools name without involving the MCLA team on campus or sharing any of the profits with the team, they are in a sense stealing from a self-funded student organization. Situations like this don’t happen very often, but when they do, always make sure to only buy MCLA gear from MCLA teams.

Below are some comments and questions that usually arise after situations like this happen.

“Isn’t this good exposure for the team when companies and bookstores make MCLA gear?”

The gear does bring attention to the team. However I believe that the motives of the company/bookstore are to profit off the images of the schools rather than help the teams. If they were interested in getting exposure for the teams then they would contact the team directly and tell them about the gear they were releasing rather than have them find out on their own. In most cases MCLA teams are never informed that someone is making gear related to the team. They also could tag their social media accounts or make mention of the MCLA, however this rarely happens. In a sense it is great exposure for MCLA teams at larger universities that carry national recognition. However, this exposure rarely is relayed back to the teams, players, and coaches that actually exist and compete every year.

“The football team doesn’t get money from merchandise sales, why should the MCLA team?”

I don’t know why you would ever compare a Division 1 FBS football team to a self-funded and student ran club lacrosse team, but some people did. If you don’t realize already, a Division 1 NCAA football team does not need money from merchandise sales. They will survive on the athletic budget provided by the school. An MCLA team cannot survive without merchandise sales.

“NCAA lacrosse teams don’t get any of the money”

Same answer as above. An NCAA Division 1 lacrosse team is not comparable to an MCLA team. These programs are funded by the school’s athletic department. MCLA programs are trying their best to make ends meet financially.

At the end of the day, when lacrosse companies and school bookstores sell MCLA gear, someone else is profiting off the image of student organizations that spend countless hours ensuring that there will even be a team to begin with. So, while it is legal for companies and bookstores to produce MCLA gear without giving any profits to MCLA teams, it is morally wrong to take advantage of a self-funded, student-run organization.

If you want to buy gear for an MCLA team, buy it directly from them.

If you want to purchase some Kentucky Men’s Lacrosse apparel (as seen in the cover image), follow the link here!