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The AliExpress Effect: KU Suffers from Jersey Knockoffs

On a Kansas men’s basketball game day you’ll see KU jerseys donned across Lawrence. Since an authentic jersey can cost quite a bit of money, freshman Madi Vaughn found an alternative.

Vaughn bought a KU jersey from the Chinese website AliExpress for around $30, as opposed to $60 or $70 from the Kansas Union. While the price is great, there’s a catch.

“The ‘Kansas’ and the numbers are stitched, so it looks authentic, but I don’t think anyone would notice that it doesn’t have a Nike or Adidas logo,” Vaughn said.

The website offers inauthentic products for low prices. In addition to the low price, the availability of former KU basketball jerseys, such as Paul Pierce, is what sold Vaughn. Products from the site, however, are not officially licensed by Kansas.

While buying an inauthentic jersey from China may seem harmless, University of Kansas licensing director Paul Vander Tuig says there’s a direct effect on the University.

“Because the University is not capturing royalty on a sale, those proceeds (that would normally be earmarked for scholarship and programming initiatives) are lost,” Vander Tuig said.

Vander Tuig also says the geographical situation of the offender location in China complicates the University from taking any legal action and an unlikely process.