Ware suffered one of the ugliest injuries college basketball fans have ever seen. Furthermore, his message to the Cardinals while lying on the Lucas Oil Stadium court helped propel the team to the Final Four.
Throughout the NCAA Tournament, players from Adidas sponsored teams have been donning warm-up shirts bearing the message "Rise To The Occasion."
But in an effort to honor Ware, the school's online apparel shop unveiled a customized t-shirt, which some believe is just a way for the school and Adidas to cash in on the sophomore's misfortune.
The tweaked version of the shirt inserts Ware's No. 5 in place of the letter "s" in "Rise," thus producing a new message that reads "Ri5e To The Occasion." Because Ware's name does not appear on the shirt, it makes seem as if it is generic, which allows the NCAA and the school to avoid having to pay him a licensing fee.
"The shirt was created as a respectful tribute to honor Kevin with NCAA trademark apparel parameters, and allow fans to rally around the team. Because of that, Adidas is contributing a portion of every sell to the university's scholarship fund."The shirts went on sale for $24.99 earlier in the week, but upon further review, it appears as if they are either out of stock or have been discontinued.
Could a possible NCAA violation be reason to blame for the sudden lack of availability?
Mark Hebert, Louisville's Director of Media Relations, doesn't think that is the case.
"My guess is they're sold out," Hebert said. "It's been quite the phenomenon around here."
Here is the product description provided with the online listing.
This "Ri5e to the Occasion" shirt has been created as a respectful tribute within NCAA trademarked apparel parameters and allows fans to rally around them team. Because of that, UofL proactively waived any licensing royalties connected to this graphic and Adidas is contributing a portion of every sale to the University's scholarship fund.Calls and emails made by USA TODAY Sports to Louisville's sports information director were not immediately returned.
Via USA TODAY