In the realm of college sports, this probably won’t land on a list of top scandals of the 21st century.
But let’s be clear about this: The University of Kansas doesn’t want the popular and PG-13 rated Twitter account @KUBoobs to go away. The school would just like the owner of the account to stop selling merchandise with “KU” on it.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The mini-controversy brewed on Monday night, when @KUBoobs, the Twitter account that specializes in, well you get it, announced that it had received a “cease-and-desist” letter from the University of Kansas stating that it had to shut down by June 12, 2013.
That, according to KU associate athletics director Jim Marchiony, is only partially correct.
“KU is not trying to shut down the@KUboobs
Twitter account,” Marchiony wrote on his official Twitter account. “A Twitter account is one thing. But they’re selling merchandise with KU on it.
“That violates KU’s Federal trademark, which the University must protect.”
Marchiony added that the school had simply asked the account to stop selling any merchandise that might infringe on the Jayhawks’ trademark.
For the uninitiated, the @KUboobs account has more than 50,000 followers on Twitter, and mostly specializes in collecting, and then disseminating, photos of KU fans in low-cut shirts. (We’ll pause for a moment to recognize how ridiculous this all is.) The account caught fire this past basketball season and inspired a so-called “boobment” of similarly-themed accounts. The Royals? Missouri? Yeah, they all have similar sites.
The “cease-and-desist” order was loosely reminiscent of KU’s high-profile trademark dispute with JoeCollege.com, a Lawrence T-shirt company that specialized in low-brow and sometimes raunchy T-shirts.
The store’s owner, Larry Sinks, eventually lost a lawsuit with the University and was ordered to play more than $100,000 in penalties in 2009.
Once again, KU is protecting its trademark with the following stance.
The boobs can live on. But the merchandise must stop.