CHICAGO — Fruit of the Loom Inc. said it has signed a letter of intent to buy Jostens Inc.’s sportswear division, which markets college-licensed apparel.

Completion of the sale — expected this month — is subject to a definitive agreement between the companies. The FTL deal defeats a bid by the division’s management to acquire the unit. Terms of the proposals were not disclosed. Jostens put the unit on the block last summer.

An FTL spokesman said the deal has received Federal Trade Commission approval. The sportswear division of Jostens had sales of $76 million in fiscal 1993. Total company sales were $914.8 million. A Jostens’ spokesman said the division no longer fits with its corporate focus, noting the division recently expanded sales to department stores from mainly campus bookstores.

“Retail is not something we have a lot of experience in,” the spokesman said Thursday. Jostens, based in Minneapolis, primarily manufactures school rings and yearbooks.