Associate News Editor
An agreement between Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia allowing the sale of merchandise disparaging one another will not be made official, according to Tech administration.
?It?s a slippery slope, and we?re just not going to do it,? said Larry Hincker, university spokesman.
The licensing agreement was initially reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch last Friday.
?We?re definitely beholden to (UVa) for their help in getting us into the ACC,? Locke White, Tech?s licensing director, told the Times-Dispatch. ?But now that we?re in, the gloves are coming off, and we?re enemies again.?
Tech will not move forward with the project because there is no way to keep things from getting ugly, Hincker said. Administrators were already displeased with the way the alleged agreement was portrayed in news stories.
The Times-Dispatch referred to Tech as a ?cow-college? and made reference to ?pretentious pantywaists in blue blazers? at UVa.
But there was never an official agreement to begin with, Hincker said. The whole fiasco began with a friendly phone call from White to Steve Heon, licensing director at UVa.
White did not return repeated phone calls from the Collegiate Times, and Heon directed all inquiries to UVa Athletic Director Craig Littlepage.
?We have no desire to be engaged in activities that diminish the image of other institutions,? Littlepage said.
When Sarah Ponton, manager of High Peak Sportswear on College Avenue, first heard of the possible deal, she sent out an order for shirts to be printed with the slogan ?Friends don?t let friends go to UVa.? The shirts would have arrived next week for sale. They would have flown off the racks, she said, but the order has now been put on hold.
?Hopefully, they?ll change their minds,? Ponton said. ?We?re disappointed, but I appreciate that (White) tried to do it.?
Littlepage said the UVa athletic department had no involvement in the alleged agreement and no knowledge of it until after the first news stories ran.
Tech Director of Athletics Jim Weaver concurred.
?Athletics have nothing to do with licensing at Virginia Tech,? Weaver said. ?I don?t know anything about it.?
White told the Times-Dispatch he tried several years ago to talk administrators into using the rivalry between the Hokies and Wahoos to bring in some licensing revenue. According to the article, both White and Heon gave hundreds of Tech and UVa logo licensees the go-ahead to ?open fire? with shirts and other merchandise.
?You know how people get brainstorming,? said Carol Wood, UVa spokesperson. ?It was probably a great idea to begin with, but it doesn?t build on the respect and stability of our relationship with Virginia Tech. Nobody thought it was a good idea.?
Had the agreement materialized, Littlepage said both universities would have the final say on what appears on shirts, bumper stickers and the like.
It would be too difficult to draw a clear line between friendly jabs and offensive put downs, Hincker said. Thus, people should not expect to see anti-UVa merchandise around Blacksburg.
?What offends someone might not offend someone else,? he said. ?It could get out of hand, so we are going to take the high road.?
Hincker said very little money would have come from any such licensing agreement.