Sister Jean 'gave her blessing' for Loyola to license her name, image

Sister Jean: 'Be careful, San Antonio, the Ramblers are on their way' (3:41)

Loyola-Chicago's Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt explains how meaningful this run has been to her, who she has in the finals of her bracket and her plans for the Final Four. (3:41)

It took 98 years and seven months of living for Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt to be asked this question: "Is it OK if we license your name and image?"

That's exactly what Loyola-Chicago officials were doing earlier this week, as demand from licensees reached the school's athletic department.

"We weren't going to do anything until she gave her blessing," said Tom Sorboro, a senior associate athletic director at the school.

When the conversation happened, the nun who serves as the chaplain of the basketball team said she trusted the school on approvals.

"She didn't ask for anything for herself," including compensation, Sorboro said.

So far, Loyola has approved more than 25 Sister Jean T-shirts from a variety of companies including Fanatics, which made a Final Four shirt with her phrase, "Worship, Work and Win."

"To have Fanatics involved here and for us to be on the front page of the world's biggest sports website is unparalleled," Sorboro said.

Fanatics spokesman Meier Raivich said the company has sold more Loyola products in the past 48 hours than in the rest of the season combined.

That doesn't include all the unlicensed products, including shirts that put Sister Jean on the Air Jordan logo. Another T-shirt takes the basketball brand And1's logo and makes it "AndNun."

In 2011, the school gave away Sister Jean bobbleheads. They were reproduced in 2015 to be sold by the Loyola University Museum of Art.

When those bobbleheads started selling for more than $300 on eBay, Phil Sklar knew there was an opportunity.

Earlier this week, Loyola approved a new bobblehead to Sklar's Bobblehead Hall of Fame. The Milwaukee-based company had made about 500 different bobbleheads over the past three years.

The most popular bobblehead for the company was the Clemson National Champions bobblehead, which sold 3,000 units. In 48 hours, the Sister Jean bobblehead, which is being promised to arrive on doorsteps in June, surpassed 5,000 units, having been ordered from customers in all 50 states.

"Licensing rules prohibit the sale of bobbleheads of college players," Sklar said. "But Sister Jean's bobblehead really represents the entire team, school and the Loyola-Chicago community."

Sock maker Rock 'Em Apparel contacted Loyola to make licensed Sister Jean socks. They began selling them on their website on Sunday afternoon and plan to have them in the Loyola bookstore before the Final Four.

"Usually it's an athlete or coach that captivates the attention of the sports world," said Steve Rollins, senior vice president for the company. "She brought Loyola's tournament run to the next level by letting the world see her passion for her team. Everyone wants to wear something with her image on it for good luck."

Licensing royalties for Sister Jean product, except for the bobblehead, are set up to support the Loyola Athletic Fund, which supports the funding of the program's athletes. The bobblehead splits the proceeds between the school's fund and Sister Jean's Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sorboro says that once things slow down, where Sister Jean's royalties go will be better prioritized.

There's no argument to be made: Sister Jean is the story of the 2018 NCAA tournament.

Twitter officials said she was the most tweeted about person for the first two weeks of the NCAA tournament. But it wasn't just social media.

Media tracking company Apex Marketing Group monitored news stories of coaches in the NCAA tournament over the past two weeks. There were 5,681 stories that involved Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and 9,727 stories on Kansas coach Bill Self. There were 20,526 stories that mentioned Sister Jean.

"Sister Jean has risen to the top of the sports world by becoming a must-see and must-mention for sports commentators and news organizations," Apex's Eric Smallwood said.

Sorboro doesn't expect the calls to license Sister Jean to slow down over the next couple of days, as the Ramblers get set to take on Michigan on Saturday in San Antonio.

"Sister Jean is the most famous religious licensing icon since the pope," Sorboro said. "She's captured the attention of the entire nation."