Penn State collected less royalties on licensed merchandise year-to-date compared to last year.

Penn State’s ranking dropped significantly from last year when it was 12th in the nation -- this year, it stands at 19th. The university was ranked fourth in the Big Ten behind Michigan (4), Wisconsin (13) and Nebraska (14).

University spokeswoman Lisa Powers said via email that the university anticipated the downtrend in merchandise sales, saying retailers were “understandably cautious” in their ordering of merchandise last fall prior to the start of the football season.

Specific figures related to the amount of royalties collected on merchandise weren’t provided. The Collegiate Licensing Company also could not provide figures which represented its most recent university rankings.

On Monday, the CLC released an annual report that identified the top-selling universities and manufacturers for the last fiscal year, which represents royalties collected between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

The University of Texas was ranked at No. 1 in the nation for the eighth consecutive year, and Texas A&M saw one of the largest increases, jumping from No. 19 to No. 12.

Powers added that as the football program saw on-field success during the 2012 campaign, merchandise sales did rise. She also said many of the most popular items on clothing racks now are not subject to licensing, such as slogans like ”Billieve” and “O’Brien’s Lions.”

“It would be impossible for a university — or any organization — to experience the unprecedented events that Penn State has been through and not expect some decline in sales,” Powers said.

She said the university believes sales will rebound as coach Bill O’Brien continues to lead the program, and that officials “fully expect” fans to continue to support the university and its athletic programs.

Anna Orso can be reached at or 814-865-1828. Follow her on Twitter at @anna_orso.