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Shirt’ president wants to go national

Joseph McMahon | Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Council of Representatives unanimously approved Tuesday a new president to head The Shirt committee next year and discussed the possibility of selling The Shirt nationwide.

The outgoing president of The Shirt committee, senior Brad LeNoir, presented junior Jason Gott, vice president of the 2007 committee, to the council.

“Jason is the best candidate because of the experience and ideas he brings to the table,” LeNoir said.

Gott said he has several new ideas for the 2008 Shirt. Although the design is still in the early phases of production, Gott said, plans are already underway to sell the shirt in nationwide retail stores like J.C. Penney, Sears and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“J.C. Penney has actually already approached us,” Gott said. “We want to turn it into a nationwide program while maintaining The Shirt’s identity.”

Gott stressed this last point. While he hopes The Shirt will be sold nationally, Gott said it will always remain a student-run project and a symbol of unity for Notre Dame supporters.

“I would take very great care to make sure it stays relevant to Notre Dame football,” he said.

Nearly 100,000 Shirts have been sold each of the past five years, LeNoir said. The success has spawned several spin-off items, including a “The Shirt” sweatshirt last year and “The Shirt” hat this year. However, sales of these items have not been as good as the original product.

“The hat wasn’t as successful as we had hoped,” LeNoir said. “Part of that was because it didn’t come out until the Boston College weekend, and we should have pushed it sooner before the season tanked.”

Nonetheless, he said both items have been effective as litmus tests for future “The Shirt” products.

“It’s good to see what products we should market for our 20th anniversary in two years,” LeNoir said.

Beyond plans to expand sales of The Shirt beyond the Notre Dame Bookstore and to possibly explore new products, Gott said he doesn’t plan to change the design process, which is currently done by a committee.

“I’m comfortable with the process as a whole,” Gott said.

In other COR news:

– The council discussed how to include student input in the selection of a commencement speaker. After corresponding with the office of University President Father John Jenkins, senior class vice president Chris Doughty said he was able to gain a better understanding of how the selection process works.

“It is the decision of Father Jenkins, and sometimes that decision is not made until late spring,” Doughty said.

Jenkins will accept letters of recommendation from students in addition to hearing the opinions of several student and faculty groups, Doughty said. However, Doughty said he hopes to have a sit-down meeting with Jenkins to discuss the available options and share student opinions with him.