The Shirt

Shirt 2016 Unveil

Now in its 27th year, The Shirt Project began in 1990 as a means to raise money to fund Notre Dame student activities – a cause it continues to support today. In the spring of 1990, senior Brennan Harvath ’91, then Chairman of AnTostal, had the idea to sell T-shirts to raise funds for AnTostal, the Student Union Board’s spring festival.  The shirt created for the fundraiser was also intended to unify the student body for the home-opener football game against Michigan on September 15, 1990. Over 9,000 shirts were sold and sales reached over $17,000. 

In approaching design for The Shirt 2016, the student committee wanted to create a Shirt with a bold and modern design, one that would stand out in the ND Stadium, and one that paid tribute to ND’s storied history while looking to the future. For these reasons, we chose the 2016 color – a bright royal blue similar to the 1991 and 2011 Shirts.  Also, The Shirt 2016 is 100% washed cotton, marking a return to 100% cotton but keeping the softer feel of more recent Shirts.

In honoring the past, the back design features banners with the years that ND won national championships. The main focus of the back design, however, is a quote. This quote comes from Father Theodore Hesburgh in an interview he gave to Sports Illustrated in 1958. Fr. Hesburgh was responding to criticism after firing of ND head coach Terry Brennan, and in the article he provides his perspective on collegiate football.

With this quote, Fr. Hesburgh articulated a sentiment that is still present today at ND—that the University of Notre Dame strives for both academic excellence AND the pursuit of championship football.  There is no reason the two are mutually exclusive endeavors. 

"There is no academic virtue in playing mediocre football and no academic vice in winning a game that by all odds one should lose... There has been a surrender at Notre Dame, but it is a surrender to excellence on all fronts, and in this we hope to rise above ourselves with the help of God."

27th Shirt 2016

The front design is simple compared to the back, but maintains the overall design aesthetic and modern feel. The words “Fighting Irish” are placed around a football graphic and “2016.” The front design is also a modern rendition of the 1991 Shirt, which featured “Irish” with a football graphic. Following the death of Fr. Hesburgh last year, we wanted to honor him on The Shirt 2016 in a way that felt appropriate, and we felt that this quote fit perfectly.

To learn more about The Shirt project, please visit their website.

If you would like to purchase the 27th The Shirt for 2016 today, they are available at Hammes Bookstores and Varsity Shop on campus or available for online purchase!

Information courtesy of