A suspicious error on the NCAA's online shop Tuesday morning turned into a legitimate controversy, with many wondering whether Penn State merchandise was removed intentionally or, as the NCAA's website claims, because of a technical glitch.
Early Tuesday morning the Centre County Report, Penn State's College of Communications' News Program, noticed that the NCAA's merchandising website had stopped selling Penn State gear. A representative from the NCAA's merchandise website, ShopNCAASports.com, told the Centre County Report that the website had received an email from the NCAA telling the website to remove the gear. The representative did not provide a reason.
Ben Jones of StateCollege.com confirmed the Centre County Report's findings with a customer service representative from the NCAA's merchandise website.
Before long, reports emerged which suggested that the removal of Penn State merchandise from the site had happened by mistake. Meier Ravich, vice president of communications for the NCAA merchandise website's owner, Fanatics Retail Group, told Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror that a "technical glitch" was preventing the Penn State merchandise from appearing on the site.
At around 11:30 a.m. ET, a note was added to ShopNCAASports.com, which confirmed the glitch (via Deadspin):
Due to a technical glitch, Penn State product is currently not appearing on the NCAA Shop. We are working diligently to quickly restore all Penn State product back on the NCAA webstore. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
About one hour later, the merchandise was back on the website.
The Nittany Lions have not lacked conspiracy-fueled controversy recently. Many, including quarterback Matt McGloin, thought Penn State got robbed of a victory by officials Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. A potential go-ahead touchdown was called a fumble, and while replays showed the ball crossed the plane before tight end Matt Lehman lost it, the call was upheld. Nebraska went on to win the game, 32-23.
"We're not going to get that call here," McGloin said after the game. "We're not going to get that call ever, actually, against any team. It doesn't matter who the refs are. That's the way it is."
During a Tuesday press conference, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien reassured Penn State fans in the wake of the recent adversity.
"I would tell our fans that nobody is against Penn State," O'Brien said. "It is a special university."