Collegiate Licensing Group Application (How To)

by john amato

Last September, I was approved for a local license with the Collegiate Licensing Group (CLC) for the University of Toledo. Currently, I am in the process of completing the application process for the University of Michigan.

The CLC is the largest licensing group in the country and handles licensing for nearly 200 universities. They have three different types of licenses: local, standard, and restricted. A local license gives you permission to produce licensed products for colleges and universities in your state. This means, that when I was approved for the University of Toledo, I could then expand my license to additional CLC schools within Ohio, my home state, without going through the full application process again. A standard license gives you permission to produce licensed products for any school that falls under the CLC umbrella. This means, that once approved for a standard license, I will be able to expand my licenses to schools across the country without undergoing the scrutiny of the full application process. You could say I’m almost pre-approved for any school in the country now.

The CLC has the most challenging application process I’ve ever undergone. I was referred to a Licensing Coordinator through a friend, Matt Yarder of, who has a standard license making grill grates. The coordinator emailed me the CLC application, but it can also be downloaded directly from their website.

The application is quite extensive. The Phase I License Application Guide is a 37 page document. It explains the type of licenses, the costs ($500 for a standard license, $100 for a local license), the time frame, a list of schools, and the Phases (three in all). You are required to fill in company information (bank and credit references, proof of insurance, manufacturing info) and complete a marketing plan. It’s quite a bit.

Phase II of the application process begins when you are preliminarily accepted as a licensee. At this point, you have to submit designs with official school logos and marks, order holograms, submit an insurance certificate with the CLC as an additional insured, and send in a product specification sheet. During Phase II you will be approved for two online portals: myiclc and Logos On Demand. Logos On Demand provides official logos and marks (this should be obvious) and they produce holograms. Final designs can be submitted through myiclc.

Everything is wrapped up in Phase III: final and official approval, payment of advance royalties to each university, and final signatures.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I think the best course of action is to speak directly with the licensing coordinators and directors where you will be applying. I think establishing contact with a coordinator at the CLC, especially since it was through someone she already knew, eased the process. In addition, when I applied to both Toledo and Michigan, I sat down and met with each licensing director to explain my ideas and why they were good for their university. If the licensing director at a specific school likes what you have to offer, they can essentially flag your application and do their best to influence the process.

However, your offering must be unique or fill a niche that the university is interested in. I can’t stress enough that you must provide a definite advantage over their current licensees. It is the most important thing you must keep in mind when applying. Most schools have hundreds of licensees. And, believe it or not, they would like to reduce that number. Each university possesses a very powerful brand. A brand that inspires loyalty unlike any other company that is simply making things. Universities provides more than apparel: they educate, they carry family tradition, the provide a greater service to the community. As a licensee, it is your job to uphold the standards of that brand.

Applying for a license with the Collegiate Licensing Company? Have any questions that I didn’t cover? Let me know if I can help.


CLC // CLC Application // University of Michigan // University of Toledo


  • Comment Author: Thomas Cabrera

    Hey John,

    Definitely a great article for some of us who are looking into acquiring a sports license. Some real food for thought. Really got a lot out of this but could still use some support and guidance taking on this beast the “best way possible” As you personally learned from experience it’s not necessarily the easiest process and if you could lend that support I would greatly appreciate it. Would hate to not use every resource out there to make sure I nail it. Hope we can connect soon John, Let’s get that License!

  • Comment Author: Quintis Davison

    Thanks for the thread John,

    I’m a small business owner in San Diego, we screen print and embroider merchandise for the SDSU club soccer team.

    Today we were told that all vendors must have a CLC license, it seems a bit excessive but business is business. I’m almost done with the internal app and it’s asking questions for ethical practices and sustainability within the supply chain and I’ve answered NO for almost every question. Just curious if this is an immediate disqualification. Been working with the mens and womens teams for over 6 years so I’m a little sad if this is the end. Thank you guys, much love!

  • Comment Author: Kédric Hayes

    Hey how’s it going! Inspiration story man, I’m applying now and kinda held up on some of the questions. I have a few question if your available to chat at any time. Getting desperate here lol. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Comment Author: Adam Stanfill

    Good article! I’m trying to navigate all the different aspects of “Phase II” right now. When you say this app is no joke, that’s no BS. This sucker is a monster that will take months. Also, these guys DO NOT answer their phones.

  • Comment Author: Denis Korzan

    Hello John -

    I read your article about the CLC application process and found it very informative. I truly appreciate when people take the time to share their experiences in the spirit of helping others. My business partner and I live in Cincinnati and we have a product idea we pitched to our alma mater (University of Cincinnati). They were very receptive to the idea but before diving into the very daunting task of the CLC application I figured having some help on the inside couldn’t hurt.
    I know that article is probably several years old but was wondering if you still have any contacts at CLC you would be willing to share? Thanks for any additional help or guidance you can provide.

    Your fellow entrepreneur,
    Denis Korzan

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