Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, the 98-year-old chaplain of Loyola Chicago, has become the face of this year’s NCAA tournament.
And with the 11th-seeded Ramblers advancing to next weekend’s Final Four, that face is already being seen many more places than ever before, including T-shirts, socks and on top of bobbleheads.
Like the college basketball players she represents, Sister Jean isn’t making a cent off the use of her name or likeness. But unlike NCAA athletes, that was her choice.
According to a report by ESPN’s Darren Rovell, officials from Loyola Chicago met with Sister Jean last week to seek her permission to license her name and image in response to heavy demand following coverage of the Ramblers’ honorary assistant coach during their unlikely March Madness run.
Not only did Sister Jean give her blessing, but “she didn’t ask for anything for herself,” Tom Sorboro, a senior associate athletic director at the school, told ESPN. And that means, Rovell said, she didn’t want any compensation for herself.
Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt celebrates with the Loyola Ramblers after their win over Kansas State on March 24.
Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt celebrates with the Loyola Ramblers after their win over Kansas State on March 24. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)
Instead, royalties for most licensed Sister Jean merchandise will support the Loyola Athletic Fund. Portions of bobblehead sales also will go toward her Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Sister Jean bobblehead that was approved for Phil Sklar’s National Bobblehead Hall of Fame last week became that company’s best seller in less than two days — and that’s just from presale activity alone. The actual bobblehead won’t be available until June.