Penn State merchandise still selling

Penn State gear is still selling, at least according to the latest data from the company that controls the school's sports trademarks at retail.

IMG-owned Collegiate Licensing Company, which represents the interests of nearly 200 schools, has released its royalty rankings for the school year (July 2011 to June 2012) and Penn State has fallen only two spots, from 10th to 12th. While the company doesn't provide any sales numbers, the rankings represent where the schools fall in terms of getting royalties from their trademarked items being sold at retail.

Despite the negativity associated with the school's handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, Penn State still generated more royalties last school year than any other Big Ten school except for Michigan.

"In December, it was bad," said Steve Moyer, whose family has owned Lions Pride, a sports gear store in State College, since 1976. "That month, we were down 25 percent over the previous year and compared to say, a Big Ten championship, maybe down about 60 percent."

But Moyer said in the next two months business turned around.

"When JoePa (former head coach Joe Paterno) passed away we were doing really well," Moyer said. "It was our best January and February on record."

Moyer said that he actually has sold more Nittany Lions gear in the past couple weeks since the NCAA handed down its sanctions but realizes that the future is still a very big question mark.

"We buy for the football season six months in advance, so those royalties were factored so many months ago," Moyer said.

Outside of State College, it appears that Penn State apparel has had a hard time coming off the shelves.

Matt Powell, an analyst for SportsOneSource, a sports market retail tracking firm that monitors sales in sporting goods stores, said that in July, Penn State merchandise sales were down 50 percent from where they were during the same period last year. Powell's company does not track sales at college bookstores.

"The bottom just dropped out," he said. "The trend certainly seems to show that fans are moving away from supporting Penn State."

Moyer said his family has not discussed closing up shop any time soon.

"I think if there was truly the death penalty, we would have talked more about it," Moyer said. "Right now, the true Penn Staters seem to be rallying and I think the next couple years will be fine."

As of last season, Penn State was the third-most popular football team in the country, according to an ESPN Sports Poll. More than 5 percent of Americans considered themselves Ohio State fans (5.2 percent), 4.1 percent said they supported Notre Dame and 3.8 percent said they rooted for the Nittany Lions.