Amid debate on athlete pay, more in NCAA pursue legal ownership of their nicknames, slogans

IndustriesAssociated Press

Some big stars in college football are getting trademarks for their names, nicknames and taglines.

Ohio State University's Ezekiel Elliott applied for trademarks to use his nicknames "Zeke" and "Eze" on merchandise this month. At Mississippi State University, Dak Prescott filed for trademarks on "Dak Attack," ''Who Dak" and his name.

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Others to pursue trademarks while in college include NFL quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston, both Heisman Trophy winners.

The NCAA forbids athletes from cashing in on their athletic success while in school, but experts say that landing a trademark in college can pave the way for lucrative licensing deals later. It also stops merchandise companies from selling goods without the athletes' permission.

The practice is common in professional sports, and some experts said it's a sign that the line between college and pro sports is eroding further.

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AP Sports Writer David Brandt contributed to this report from Jackson, Mississippi.