Last week, North Carolina football suspended 13 players for re-selling team shoes. On Friday, ESPN reported that three other schools are investigating if they had student-athletes do the same.
Those three schools are Michigan, Marquette and Cal, according to ESPN. North Carolina contacted all three schools and all three confirmed they are looking into the matter.
Per ESPN, the retailer who purchased the shoes from the UNC players said they had “bought shoes from other schools, including Michigan, Marquette and California.”
ESPN had shoe-marketplace site StockX review its database of about 17,000 different pairs of shoes to see how many player exclusives it had tracked as sold, along with the average price of the sale. StockX also tracks the value of shoes in real time.
Michigan, with 23 pairs, had the most shoes on the exchange. It also had the highest average price of $4,671 a pair.
Michigan spokesman David Ablauf released a statement on the matter Friday night.
From Michigan spokesman Dave Ablauf tonight:
“We are aware of the report at North Carolina. Our compliance office is looking into this matter and will determine if anything needs to be reported to the NCAA.”
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) August 11, 2018
While Michigan is investigating, Ablauf told ESPN that just because the shoes were resold, it doesn’t mean they were done so by Michigan players.
Ablauf said executives and celebrities receive the special shoes, as do Nike’s Michigan endorsers in the pros. The school itself also might have donated, at times, some pairs to charity.
Sources tell ESPN that school exclusives made for basketball teams are generally limited to 50 pairs, while football-team exclusives are in the 200-300 range.
Ablauf said Michigan players sign a form that acknowledges that selling the shoes would jeopardize their eligibility. The shoes are also marked by the equipment staff with the player’s name or uniform number, making it more difficult to sell them anonymously.
If Michigan players did sell team-issued shoes, it shouldn’t take long for an internal investigation to find out what happened.
The Wolverines are sponsored by Jordan Brand.