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Cal State vs. Illinois? Redbox Bowl site features merchandise with wrong name for Golden Bears

Washington State v California
California’s Gavin Reinwald (84) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Washington State Cougars on Nov. 9 in Berkeley.
(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

The University of California Berkeley goes by many names.

Cal State is not one of them.

Yet, that’s the moniker that appeared on the official merchandise for the California (a.k.a. Cal, Cal Berkeley or UC Berkeley) Golden Bears’ upcoming date with Illinois in the Redbox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Or at least it was going to until images of the products were released earlier this week.

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To be fair, California is a large state. And there are a ton of college campuses here — 10 of which (including Cal) are part of the University of California system and 23 of which (not including Cal) belong to the California State University system. It can get confusing.

But, still, one would hope that a mistake like this would have been caught somewhere along the way.

Oh, wait. Maybe it was — and somehow still saw the light of day.

“We officially rejected this design. It was released without our approval,” John Lemein, the creative director and brand/web manager at Cal, tweeted Tuesday. “The University of California, Berkeley Athletics Department either goes by Cal or California, period.”

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Roger Hacker, director of communications for Bay Area Host Committee, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon:

“The designated third-party merchandise vendor mistakenly posted unapproved images and depictions of 2019 Redbox Bowl merchandise. None of these erroneous designs was printed on any merchandise nor available for actual sale. The vendor is supposed to get prior design approval and sign-off by both the Redbox Bowl and each university, so we are working with the vendor to ensure the oversight process as outlined is clearly followed with regard to all official merchandise for the 2019 Redbox Bowl. Once designs are approved, the website will begin making items available for sale. This vendor manages merchandise sites for a number of college bowls and has sincerely apologized for their mistake. We have been in consultation with both university athletic departments about the error, and they are understanding of the situation.”

Images featuring “Cal State” have been removed from the Redbox Bowl merchandise website, but, in this golden age of social media, the damage had already been done. Golden Bears senior linebacker Evan Weaver, the Pac-12 defensive player of the year, was one of the many who couldn’t help but pile on.

Adding insult to injury, the game’s online store also originally used an outdated Cal logo, according to California Golden Blogs.

But the Illini didn’t escape unscathed either. The design uses an outdated Illinois helmet, with a white “I” instead of the current blue.

Unlike the Cal-related gaffes, this one still appeared on merchandise featured on the website as of Wednesday morning.


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