Demand for Duke Lacrosse Gear Soars

"There's nothing wrong with continuing to sell Duke lacrosse merchandise," Hessert said. "If they were putting them on sale or promoting them, that would be entirely different, but I think what they are doing now is just satisfying the demand of their customers."

That demand from outside Durham has pushed the price considerably above face value.

Prices Rise on eBay

When the story first hit the news more than a month ago, the average price of a Duke lacrosse item on the online auction site eBay was $7.74. The average price now is $17.04. The pace of transactions has increased, too. In early March, only a handful of Duke lacrosse items changed hands in a week. This past week, 79 items sold.

On Monday T-shirts sold for more than $40 each, with as many as 16 bids on single items.

Janelle Smith of Coats, N.C., purchased a shirt on eBay on Monday night for $30 because she said she was sure that if she made the 65-mile trip to the Duke campus, everything would be sold out.

"My boyfriend will probably wear it at the gym," Smith said. "Not out anywhere, as to not cause too much controversy."

Smith said she understood that the shirt wouldn't come cheap, given the story's prominence in the news.

"I knew it would be high in price," she said.

David Miklofsky, a 22-year-old from Tucson, Ariz., purchased a Duke lacrosse T-shirt on eBay for $16.49.

"What if Duke doesn't have a men's lacrosse team anymore?" Miklofsky asked. "Either the value of the shirt will be increased based on not having a program or, the more likely outcome is that there won't be a demand for an odd item such as this."

The Kid Market

Officials with Brine, which makes Duke lacrosse hats and T-shirts, did not return multiple calls seeking comment about whether the company is putting more product into the marketplace to meet increased demand.

Although many outlets selling Duke lacrosse merchandise report brisk sales, not everyone is seeing more dollar signs because of the scandal.

"Duke is normally one of the best-sellers for us; but in the last month, it's been in the middle of the road," said Mike DeSimone, owner of Lacrosse Unlimited. "Most of our customers are parents buying for kids ages 9 to 15 years old, and I think some of them are waiting for the outcome of this case before they come in and purchase something."

Eighteen of the 47 players on Duke's roster are from New York and Connecticut, where Lacrosse Unlimited's 12 stores are located.

Said DeSimone: "It's upsetting that lacrosse finally hits the news, and it's getting notoriety in a negative fashion like this."

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