UNC football player signs autographs, sells t-shirts as part of new NCAA rules

Josh Chapin Image
Sunday, July 25, 2021
UNC football player autographs, sells shirts as part of new NCAA rules
UNC football player Tony Grimes took advantage of the opportunity to cash in on his name, image and likeness Saturday thanks to a new ruling under the NCAA.

UNC defensive back Tony Grimes is looking forward to getting back onto the field for his sophomore season in Chapel Hill. He was off the field Saturday doing something for himself.

Grimes spent the afternoon signing autographs and selling t-shirts at Chapel Hill Sportswear on Franklin Street.

The 20 plus t-shirts he had made sold out fast -- all of which landed in his pockets.

"It doesn't feel weird but it's a shocker," Grimes said. "Like I don't have to ask permission to do anything from the school anymore. I could call my dad and we could set things up and that's how it is."

Just this month, NCAA loosened rules that opened the door for athletes to sell rights to their names and likenesses for the first time.

Chapel Hill Sportswear said they've never been able to give discounts to players or have signings with current players but the ball game has changed.

"We wouldn't ever want to do anything that would jeopardize him and his eligibility or anything like that," store manager Holly Dedmond said. "We just want to make sure it's all done the right way."

Tony's family called the store to set things up.

Earlier this week, UNC quarterback Sam Howell signed a sponsorship deal with Bojangles.

UNC Football said it doesn't have any involvement in the events but they told ABC11 they've given them resources and education about what opportunities to pursue and what not to.