DALLAS (CN) – Texas A&M University is working with Johnny Manziel’s family to try to trademark the freshman quarterback’s nickname, Johnny Football, the college said – as another man is already trying to claim it.
Manziel, 19, of Kerrville, led the Aggies to a 29-24 victory on Saturday over top-ranked University of Alabama before a national television audience.
Shane Hinckley, Texas A&M’s assistant vice president of business development, told ESPN.com that “Texas A&M is working in concert with the Manziel family to trademark the nickname.”
The NCAA forbids student-athletes from profiting from products that indicate a connection to them. The NCAA expects schools to stop other vendors from doing so, as well.
But someone else has tried to trademark the nickname. On Nov. 1, attorney Stephen R. Hollas, of College Station, filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on behalf of Kenneth R. Reynolds Family Investments LP and Kenneth R. Reynolds II.
There is no known link between the applicants, Texas A&M or the Manziel family.
An unidentified Texas A&M official told ESPN.com that Hollas was not working with the school or the Manziels.
Demand for Johnny Football-related merchandise has been high since this season. The only Aggie football jerseys for sale at the Texas A&M University Bookstore have been the blank Nos. 1 and 12 – the latter refers to the Texas A&M student body, known as the 12th Man.
Hinckley told ESPN.com that the first shipment of Manziel’s No. 2 jersey arrived at the campus bookstore Friday, with a bigger shipment expected Monday.
Manziel joins several other athletes seeking to protect their nicknames and catchphrases.
In August, Olympic champion swimmer Ryan Lochte asked the USPTO to trademark his “Jeah” catchphrase.
Houston Rockets basketball player Jeremy Lin filed to trademark “Linsanity” in February and New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis filed to trademark “Raise the Brow” and “Fear the Brow” in June.
Davis told CNBC at the time that “I don’t want anyone to try to grow a unibrow because of me and then try to make money off of it. Me and my family decided to trademark it because it’s very unique.”