University rethinks message behind ‘Brew’s Crew’ shirts, decides to sell again

The booster club’s shirt design was banned last spring because of possible alcohol connotations.

by Andrew Cummins

The University’s ban on “Brew’s Crew” apparel production has worn out.

Last spring, the University banned the football booster club’s “Brew’s Crew” shirts because of possible alcohol connotations, but now the University is allowing their sale.

Associate athletics director Tom Wistrcill gave the Goal Line Club the go-ahead in early February to print and sell the shirts again, Teresa Grim, the club’s president, said.

Grim said she didn’t know why the University changed its mind, and that Wistrcill simply approached the club and approved the shirts.

Because shirts had been produced before the ban, officials saw that shirt wearers didn’t directly link the apparel to drinking – a fact that was instrumental in reversing the decision, Wistrcill said.

“Our concern previously was the potential tie to alcohol,” he said. “After a year of kind of watching it play out, as the Goal Line Club sold those shirts, and now that we got to see it applied in real life, it wasn’t exploited in that way.”

The Goal Line Club originally sold the apparel last April, but stopped production after Athletics Department officials presented its argument against making more. Grim disagreed.

“It was just a silly thing to ban because people call coach Brewster ‘Brew,’ ” Grim said. “That’s his nickname. We’re not trying to sell alcohol. It’s just a nickname.”

The ban led to backlash from students and fans who thought the University was being too restrictive, Grim said.

“When it was banned, a lot of people thought it was ridiculous,” she said.

Although the ban was received with criticism by those who thought the University was being too strict, Wistrcill said he thought fans and the booster club handled the situation well.

“Turns out, it wasn’t a problem, and (club members are) great partners, so we said, ‘You know what? Let’s consider our decision and go in a different direction,’ ” he said.

Despite the controversy surrounding the re-released apparel, fans haven’t shied away from buying it. The “Brew’s Crew” apparel sold more than any other merchandise at the team’s signing day event in March, Grim said.

Its success has bred more sizes and variety, including sweatshirts and gold colored shirts to be sold at the April 25 spring game, she said.

Officials at the bookstore in Coffman Union didn’t previously know of the apparel’s approval, but expressed interest in selling it, Bob Crabb, director of the University bookstore, said.

The bookstore will have its buyer get in touch with the Goal Line Club, and will then, hopefully, carry the clothes, he said.

Jeremy Warsett, a cinema and media culture studies senior, would welcome that.

“The ban seemed to kill some of the hype that students were building up because of the new coach, and it became another issue of alcohol on campus and at events,” he said.

Warsett said he liked the shirts because they’re creative, and an atmosphere of “hooligans and drunken under-agers” happens with or without an item of clothing.