You might not know the name Gardner Minshew but you certainly know his mustache. The Washington State quarterback has been one of the key ingredients in the Cougars’ run to a 9-1 record and a No. 8 ranking in the nation. As the team prepares for a showdown with the Washington Huskies in the Apple Cup, Minshew’s mustache is taking center stage as the object that unifies the fanbase and Wazzou die-hards across Eastern Washington.
In the town of Colfax, Washington, which is located just 16 miles from WSU campus, they really wanted to make a big deal out of their favorite mustache man. So, the Chamber of Commerce planned a two-day festival known as “Gardner Minshew Days.” All of the town’s downtown businesses would have giant mustaches in the windows while other mustaches would be affixed to the front of city vehicles and everyone you passed in town would be sporting a mustache as well.
It all sounds like good, clean fun to support the local football team and their star player. Of course, you can probably guess who had a big problem with all of this.
Colfax received a cease-and-desist notice from the NCAA rules compliance staff at WSU recently, letting them know that there is clearly no way they would be able to use Minshew’s name in promoting any kind of event like this. That’s NCAA Rule No. 1, basically.
“In accordance with NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168, Washington State University requests you cease the production and display of advertisements, and the possible distribution of any products using Gardner Minshew’s name and likeness,” said the letter.
The good news is that the show will go on. The event is called “Mustache Madness” and does not reference Minshew by name or likeness in any way. It just so happens to be all about a mustache, but you know, that could be ANYONE’S mustache.
“We are going to have huge mustache posters in our businesses on Main Street,” Chamber Executive Director Valoree Gregory said in an e-mail to USA Today. “All of our businesses will be wearing mustaches and white headbands. Our police cars will even have mustaches on them. Hopefully people don’t see those in their rear view mirrors!!”
For their part, WSU seems happy with the resolution.
“As long as Gardner didn’t have knowledge, which he didn’t, and we do our due diligence, which we have, we are covered,” WSU athletics spokesman Bill Stevens told USA Today.
If the Cougars beat the Huskies on Saturday and clinch a spot in the Pac-12 Championship, head to Colfax for the party. And don’t forget your mustache.