Chief gear still available but limited

Jordan Orr, sophomore in AHS, browses through Chief shirts at Gameday Spirit on Green Street, Thursday afternoon. The store will continue to sell Chief merchandise through the end of the year. ME Online

Jordan Orr, sophomore in AHS, browses through Chief shirts at Gameday Spirit on Green Street, Thursday afternoon. The store will continue to sell Chief merchandise through the end of the year. ME Online

By Lisa Chung

When the University and The Collegiate Licensing Company officially decided to retain the rights to the Chief Illiniwek logo on March 30, students rushed to get their hands on the last of the Chief merchandise.

“When the decision was made, I just went out and bought a lot of (Chief) stuff,” said Kelly Leahy, sophomore in LAS.

Many students were not aware that stores would have Chief merchandise on their shelves this year, but campus shops are still stocked up.

“Nobody really knew what was going on, and students wanted to come in and get their merchandise,” said Joe Deien, student manager at te’ shurt’ and senior in LAS. “They don’t have to panic because we will have (Chief merchandise) on our shelves throughout the semester.”

The last day to order anything representing Chief Illiniwek was April 16 and many stores were able to stock up, said Michelle Fassett, owner of te’ shurt’, 711 S. Wright St.

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Although no orders are allowed to be shipped after Dec. 31, any remaining Chief merchandise can still be sold after this date.

“We can continue to sell until our inventory is depleted,” Fassett said.

Because Chief Illiniwek is no longer considered the official University symbol, Chief merchandise cannot be sold at sporting events this season.

“(Vendors) will not be allowed to sell any merchandise at the football games, or the early basketball games with the Chief on them,” said Fassett. “If people come into town for the games, they will actually have to come to the shops on campus.”

The Illini Union Bookstore, 809 S. Wright St., has even fewer items than te’ shurt’ representing the Chief. The bulk of their merchandise was sold last semester, and the store has not had new shipments come in, said Brad Bridges, the bookstore’s manager.

Stores are relying on sales of other University items because fewer Chief Illiniwek products are available.

“People are just buying different stuff,” Bridges said. “They’re buying more of the athletic apparel that has the ‘I’ logo or ‘Illinois’ (printed on them).”

Newer merchandise will contain the athletic logo and designs approved by the athletic department, said Bridges.

Te’ shurt’ has some new designs that will incorporate “Illinois,” but they are not on the shelves just yet, Deien said. “You better get (your Chief merchandise) now,” Fassett said. “Because it will be gone soon.”