Since college athletes were granted the right to capitalize on their name, image, and likeness in June 2021, athletic departments, alumni, and fans at universities around the nation have scrambled to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape. At Penn State, those efforts have created partnerships designed to help the school’s 800-plus student-athletes make the most of their NIL opportunities and to help educate supporters on how they can get involved in a way that’s consistent with NCAA rules.
The largest of these groups is Success With Honor, which launched in March with seed money from a half-dozen donors and has since helped facilitate NIL deals between interested sponsors and athletes from 25 of the Nittany Lions’ 31 varsity sports programs. Success With Honor is not directly affiliated with the university but, with help from an advisory board of former varsity athletes, aims to build a network of potential NIL partners that leverages Penn State’s alumni base.
Success With Honor hopes to help students identify NIL opportunities, from autograph sessions to endorsement deals. The group works with the university compliance office to ensure that the contracts are sound, and it helps athletes account for the income on their taxes.
Alumni and fans can contribute via donations made to individual athletes or athletes in specific sports, or by monthly subscriptions that will grant them access to interviews and meet-and-greet opportunities with athletes.
Mark Toniatti ’73 Edu, Success With Honor’s chief executive officer, says that as of late June, the average Success With Honor subscription was between $30 and $40. He sees immense potential for alumni to have an impact—as more of them realize that NIL is here to stay.
“Our biggest challenge right now is communication and education,” Toniatti says.
Getting In the Game
Here are a few of the Penn State athletes who have already found name, image, and likeness opportunities:
-Football players Caedan Wallace, Dvon Ellies, and Adisa Isaac signed one-year deals to become brand ambassadors for Scholar Hotel Group.
-Freshman running back Nick Singleton signed a three-year endorsement deal with West Shore Home, a Mechanicsburg, Pa.– based remodeling company.
-Redshirt freshman linebacker Dominic DeLuca signed a deal with Bill Corcoran ’11 Com, founder of the #OnTheStacks podcast.
-Women’s basketball player Anna Camden partnered with Roots Natural Kitchen, a State College eatery that serves “The Camden Bowl,” a chicken-and-rice dish inspired by her.
-Wrestler Roman Bravo-Young, one of Penn State’s earliest NIL adopters, has partnered with Snap Custom Pizza.