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Update: Penn State Shuts Down Joe Julius THON Shirt Fundraiser

On Tuesday, we wrote about a freshman who created a t-shirt to support Joe Julius, the starting kicker on the Penn State football team. All proceeds for the shirt were slated to be donated to THON.

After the post was published, David Friedman was contacted by the Penn State athletic department and told that despite the proceeds going to a charitable organization, he wasn’t allowed to continue to sell the t-shirts, and all of the money raised had to be refunded to the supporters. The athletic department explained that an NCAA rule prohibited Friedman from selling the shirts.

After debating a course of action between he and the co-creators of the shirt design, and receiving feedback from the donors, Friedman decided that instead of altering the design to comply with NCAA rules, he was going to agree to stop the fundraiser and refund the money donated for the shirts.

Friedman sent an email asking for feedback from the buyers of the shirt, which is found, unedited, below.

Hello All,
Thank you all for supporting the cause of THON and our effort to raise money. Initially this started out as a small thing that my friends and I did, just to support our favorite player, “Big Toe” Joe Julius. Well then we decided since we got a lot of questions about our shirts, that we would sell them for THON. THEN onward state picked up the story. We have sold and raised as of right now, over $1,300. The Athletic Department at the school ALSO picked up the story. The response
from them was not nearly as supportive of our idea. They informed me that they would like me to take it down and not have anything to do with the school or Joe or PSU football. Which is understandable due to past history, they want to be clean. So my friends and I brain stormed, and we came up with the following options for everyone. while we try to sort out this whole thing that we have created for ourselves since it got so big.

Option a) we can refund all the money and pretend like it never happened.
b) we can/ have created a new design that has nothing to do with anything with Joe or the University.
c) you can get one of our NEW designs, which means you dont have to do anything, but if you dont want a new design, we completely get it, in which case email me, and i will get you a full refund

If anyone has any suggestions, please, let me know what you think we should do, we are all ears! We are trying to follow the rules here, and not get anyone in trouble, including ourselves.

I thank you for your support, and i will probably be emailing again once this all gets figured out.

We are just trying to follow the rules.

Thank you,
David Friedman

Unfortunately for supporters, Friedman and his friends chose Option A, and will refund all the money from the fundraiser to the original donors. Friedman explained the decision in a text to Onward State.

“We decided that we are just going to refund everyone,” Friedman said. “It became a thing where there were a lot of people that didn’t want a shirt that had nothing to do with Joe, which is understandable, and we didn’t want to press the issue with the compliance office. It just sucks, the final tally was around $1,400 and 124 shirts. But now, this whole mess is over. It’s definitely something we will never do again without checking first.”

Donors can expect a refund in the coming days.

About the Author

Alex Robinson

Alex Robinson was Onward State's Acting Managing Editor/Resident Old Man. He lived in Harrisburg almost his whole life, but he says he's from California -- where he was born -- because that's more fun. He loves cats and Chinese food, but only separately. He met both Ben Affleck and Kanye West within a half hour, so the three of them are basically best friends. If you want to hear his #scorching #hot #takes, you can follow him at @ARobinsonPSU or email him at [email protected]

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