Wisconsin nixed a T-shirt that may have violated NCAA rules

The Dagger
The shirt the Wisconsin campus bookstore was selling earlier this week.
The shirt the Wisconsin campus bookstore was selling earlier this week.

One of the Wisconsin campus bookstore's best-selling Final Four-themed shirts no longer is available for purchase.

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School officials had to yank it off the bookstore's website earlier this week because the compliance department feared the shirt violated NCAA rules.

The inspiration behind the shirt in question was the way Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes has tested NCAA tournament stenographers, whose job is to transcribe interviews, by intentionally mixing in hard-to-spell words during news conferences. The bookstore printed a shirt featuring seven of Hayes' words in block letters: "Cattywampus, Onomatopoeia, Antidisestablishmentarianism, Soliloquy, Quandary, Zephyr, Xylophone."

Patrick Herb, Wisconsin's assistant director of athletic communications, told Yahoo Sports that director of compliance Katie Smith learned about the shirts after the bookstore had already begun selling them. Though the bookstore is a third-party vendor that is not affliated with the university, Smith still believed the use of Hayes' words on the T-shirt went against NCAA amateurism rules preventing the sale of merchandise with a player's name or likeness on them.

"The UW compliance office took steps to have the shirts removed from the off-campus retailer in order to avoid any potential violations down the road," Herb said. "The bookstore willingly cooperated. We are just looking to protect our student-athletes."

Before the shirt was removed from the bookstore's website, the sales pitch accompanying it referred to Hayes without actually using his name. It read, "What does a Wisconsin basketball player say when they realize there is a stenographer is in the room ... 'Cattywampus, Onomatopoeia, Antidisestablishmentarianism, Soliloquy, Quandary, Zephyr, Xylophone' of course; or would you just call them beautiful?"

Hayes did not know Wisconsin's compliance office had removed the shirt when reporters asked him about it during a news conference in Madison, Wis., on Tuesday. He responded with tongue planted firmly in cheek, noting the irony that the shirts had sold out without him receiving one.

"The fact that a shirt is being made and sold and has sold out is pretty egregious," Hayes said. "I'm not going to say I deserve any royalties or anything like that. That would be absurd. I'm an athletic student under the NCAA. 

"I haven't even gotten a shirt yet though. It's ironic seeing as how there wouldn't be a shirt without me saying those things, but that's neither here nor there. I'm just glad to be part of all the hoopla. It has been a good time."

Hayes isn't the only one who couldn't get a shirt despite being partially responsible for its existence. Neither could the stenographer who transcribed his words in Los Angeles last week.

This story has been updated to clarify that the University of Wisconsin technically was not selling the T-shirts. The campus bookstore is a third-party vendor.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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