NIL and Penn State: The First Day of the Future of College Athletics

By Matthew Filipovits on July 2, 2021 at 8:24 am
Dec 19, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) warms up prior to the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
© Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

July 1 was a big day in the college football world, as student-athletes across the country were able to start making money off of their name, image, and likeness. It's a big change for college sports and thankfully, something Penn State was prepared for. The school announced STATEment, a program designed to help players through this new era of college athletics at every level.

Penn State Athletics continues its commitment to preparing students for a lifetime of impact with the introduction of the STATEment program to prepare students in the ever-changing college athletics landscape of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL). STATEment will aide students in understanding and growing their brand through meaningful education programs and an emphasis on entrepreneurship.
"Our why has always been preparing our students for a lifetime of impact, and this new opportunity will allow them to explore entrepreneurship and develop skills which they will carry with them long beyond their time at Penn State," said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour. "For many years we have had a comprehensive educational program for our students when they arrive on campus and STATEment's educational components are an extension of that program.
"We want to inspire our students' entrepreneurial spirit and help them understand the impact their brand has using enhanced education as key part of STATEment," continued Barbour. "Penn State's brand and 700,000 living alumni are huge advantages for our students as they explore these new opportunities to make an impact."
STATEment will build upon the life skills education which had previously been provided by the Student-Athlete Welfare and Development staff when students arrived to Penn State. STATEment's educational focus will be on brand building, social media responsibility, financial literacy, professionalism, media training, interest and values assessment, diversity and inclusion, and alumni and industry relationships. Most importantly, STATEment is a program which will continue to evolve in the ever-changing world of college athletics.
Penn State has partnered with INFLCR and Spry to provide resources to students as part of STATEment. INFLCR facilitates in content distribution to assist students in elevating their brand and messaging via the INFLCR app. Spry will serve as a one-stop shop for the students, becoming the educational hub for STATEment, as well as a reporting headquarters for required disclosure of opportunities.
In addition, Penn State ICA's students will have access to Athlete Network to connect with Penn State Varsity 'S' members. Current students and alumni are able to connect based on interest, location and professional areas of interest. There are more than 3,300 members of Penn State's Athlete Network.
Penn State Athletics' students will also have access additional resources, such as Happy Valley LaunchBox and the Sokolov-Miller Family Financial and Life Skills Center. Founded in 2016, Happy Valley LaunchBox is responsible for opening 111 startup businesses and securing $2.25 million dollars in funding and awards. The LaunchBox also provides the chance to obtain a yearly $15,000 grant, which comes with mentoring services and business coaching.
Centrally located within hours of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., networking opportunities are plentiful for Penn State's more than 800 student-athletes in 31 sports. Penn State is the only Power 5 program to be located within 250 miles of three top-10 media markets (New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C.). The Penn State Alumni Association is the largest dues-paying alumni association in the country, with over 700,000 members and 1-in-7 Pennsylvanians with a college degree is a Penn State alum."

Penn State's alumni association and status as one of the most recognizable athletic programs in the Northeast will now become some of the best recruiting pitches coaches have as athletes look to create their own personal brand in the new era of NIL. The biggest part of this announcement though has to be the 

A handful of Nittany Lions are already making attempts to get their personal brands off the ground. Sean Clifford has joined Cameo and QB Takeover - where you can get some Clifford merch. Jahan Dotson, Journey Brown, Derrick Tangelo, Ta'Quan Roberson, Brandon Smith, Noah Cain, Fred Hansard, and Jesse Luketa are all on the Yoke Gaming app - an app that lets you game with athletes. Offensive lineman Bryce Effner has a deal with the food delivery service GoPuff and Penn State Wrestling's Roman Bravo-Young has partnered with ShoeRaffle, and Barstool Athletics.

A lot of things are going to change in the months and years ahead, with many more deals to come.