Grinnell Athletics Store opens; students skeptical of prices, selection

Conrad Dahm, Staff Writer

The Grinnell athletics department recently opened a new online store accessible through their website where individuals can purchase Grinnell athletics merchandise. The store is currently accepting orders through Oct. 3 and contains a wide variety of items ranging from t-shirts to hats. 

In an email to the S&B, Ben Cooprider, associate athletic director, described the online store as a new department-wide move for athletics in the realm of merchandise sales. The setup for the online store was a collective effort. 

“This summer we came to an agreement with BSN [Sports] who helped us launch this shop.  They’ve been a vendor providing uniforms and apparel for a while now, and this is the first time we’ve done something department-wide like this,” wrote Cooprider. 

The department-wide effort is shown in the merchandise for sale: none of the items on sale mention any specific sport, but each says “Grinnell Athletics.” Cooprider also mentioned the conscious effort to avoid the usage of the word “Pioneers” on the shirt. 

Cooprider wrote, “In 2019, at the direction of the Communications team, we underwent a rebranding process that looked at font, logo, style, etc. and the designs depicted in the team store align with the athletics brand guidelines developed during that process.” 

Many students have called for the College to drop the Pioneers nickname — including a petition circulated by alumni in 2020. 

The S&B asked several Grinnell College students in Spencer Grill their opinion of the online store. Multiple students were not very supportive of the store. 

“I’m just glad none of them say Pioneers,” said Keir Hichens `22.5. 

“It looks similar to bookstore merch. It is kinda expensive. I would probably not buy anything,” said Rowan Hutchinson `24. The pricing of certain items was an issue that several students, including Hutchinson, argued would make them not buy an item. For example, a pair of Nike fleece pants costs $56.99. The pants were a problem for other students as well. 

“I need pants but not from here. I don’t like the exclusivity that it’s online for only so long. It’s giving commercial vibes,” said Hayley Carson `25. 

“It’s really expensive. If I wanted to buy merch I would go to the bookstore,” said Marisa Goffman `24.  

According to Cooprider, merchandise on the website has been sold. “So far, we’ve had alumni, parents, students and staff all purchase items through the store,” wrote Cooprider.  

Not everyone was so critical of the store. Some students offered some constructive advice.

“It looks overpriced, but so is all college merch. I would probably buy a recruit hoodie,” said George Matthes `25. This sentiment was echoed by other students who enjoyed some of the designs but did not enjoy the prices offered. 

Other students offered the athletics department some design ideas for merchandise that they think students might be more likely to buy. 

“I would recommend them to sell jerseys. I would buy that,” said Jacob Cowan `23. Cowan specifically mentioned that selling jerseys for sports such as basketball would make him more inclined to purchase merchandise from the athletics department. 

With the online store only accepting orders until Oct. 3, the student body does not have much time to purchase items. Cooprider gave a reasoning to the timing, and he added that the store was requested by people who want to support Grinnell in news ways. 

“[It] was a matter of the timing of the beginning of the academic and athletic year, and aligning with families, alumni and friends all potentially desiring some new apparel to represent Grinnell College and our athletic teams,” Cooprider wrote.