Skip to main content

Introducing Penn State's Two New NIL Collectives

Success With Honor and Nittany Commonwealth launch Penn State into the competitive NIL marketplace.

LaVar Arrington, Todd Blackledge, Michael Robinson and Lisa Salters will serve on the advisory board of a new Penn State Name, Image and Likeness collective, one of two such collectives dedicated to making the Nittany Lions competitive in the rapidly expanding NIL marketplace.

The Success With Honor collective was created to "empower Penn State athletes to achieve their greatest potential in the classroom, on the playing field, and in life," according to the organization's new website. Success With Honor joins another newly formed NIL collective, Nittany Commonwealth, which says it will be the "most effective and rule-compliant means" for Penn State athletes to monetize their NIL rights. Nittany Commonwealth founder Michael Krentzman plans to have the collective running within the next few weeks.

NIL collectives are the latest industry trend to emerge from the wave of bills passed across the country allowing college athletes to sign endorsement deals and earn money. Pennsylvania's legislation went into effect July 1, allowing athletes to earn money through endorsements, autograph sessions, sponsorships and other means without penalty or loss of eligibility. Athletes also can sign agents and register with companies that handle branding and licensing.

Penn State football coach James Franklin has said repeatedly since December that he wants the athletic program to be "bold and aggressive" with regard to NIL opportunities. For instance, Ohio State announced that its athletes made nearly $3 million in combined NIL earnings in 2021. And The Athletic reported that a high-profile 2023 football recruit signed a deal with an NIL collective that could pay him more than $8 million.

"In the football building, this was brought up two years ago that we needed to have a plan and be aggressive and be bold with this area," Franklin said in February. "Compared to [other programs], we're not there yet. I do think we have an unbelievable opportunity with our alumni base and our brand and our national reputation.

"... With the number of really successful alumni that we have, we have to take advantage of that. We have to be bold and we have to be aggressive and we have to embrace it."

The Success With Honor and Nittany Commonwealth NIL collectives are not affiliated with Penn State. The Pennsylvania bill prevents institutions from arranging third-party representation with athletes.

Instead, collectives act as outside agencies that facilitate marketing plans, brand partnerships and opportunities to conduct camps and clinics between athletes and organizations. Here's a look at the two new Penn State NIL collectives.

Success With Honor

Ira Lubert, former chair of Penn State's Board of Trustees, is one of five founders of Success With Honor, which includes several major players in State College business.

Lubert, who chairs the Success With Honor board, is part of the group building the Bally's Casino in State College. Other founders include Anthony Misitano, founder and CEO of PAM Health; Bob Poole, president and CEO of S&A Homes, Inc.; and Rick Sokolov, director and vice chairman of Simon Property Group.

The advisory board consists of some of Penn State's most accomplished former athletes, including volleyball player Megan Hodge, wrestler David Taylor, basketball player Calvin Booth and field hockey player Kelsey Amy, now a senior designer for Jordan Brand at Nike. The advisory board also includes Susan Schandel, CFO of NASCAR; Chris Bevilacqua, founder of College Sports Television (now CBS Sports Network); and Linsey Shea, an Emmy-winning sports television producer.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Success With Honor has partnered with Student Athlete Empowerment, an NIL firm that will manage operations. Jason Belzer, an industry expert on NIL, is CEO of Student Athlete Empowerment.

Penn State fans can contribute to Success With Honor. The organization says 85-90 percent of donations will go to the athletes. Fans can make sport-specific contributions, and contracts with athletes are not exclusive, according to the Success With Honor website.

"Through Success With Honor, Penn State student-athletes can access the tools and resources to maximize both educational and NIL opportunities while maintaining a full commitment to excellence in their academic and athletic careers," the collective said in a news release. "Contrary to public perception, the vast majority of Penn State student-athletes receive partial or no scholarship money while competing for the Nittany Lions. Recognizing that reality, the goal of Success With Honor is to create opportunities for student-athletes in all 31 sports."

Success With Honor Collective logo

Success With Honor is a new NIL collective for Penn State athletes.

Nittany Commonwealth

Michael Krentzman, an attorney who runs a central Pennsylvania scrap-processing business, is a long-time Penn State sports fan and donor — his family has endowed the Krentzman Family Men's Basketball Scholarship for years.

In an interview, Krentzman said he began considering NIL options after last year's NCAA vs. Alston case reached the Supreme Court. The case, coupled with state NIL bills, rapidly opened doors for athletes across the country.

"I'd been following this and fascinated by it and feeling like I was watching Penn State in slow motion miss a boat," Krentzman said. "And it was agonizing."

Krentzman's group at Nittany Commonwealth is partnering with ReKT Global, an online gaming and media company, to run its NIL platform. Fans can join a membership program that provides access to benefits such as livestreams, autograph sessions, meets and more. In addition, businesses can partner with the collective to schedule athletes for personal appearances, social media promotions and other marketing opportunities.

Memberships will be tiered; the higher the donation, the more benefits available. Those benefits will include memorabilia and potentially NFTs, Krentzman said.

"What I'm trying to achieve here is to be fully compliant, fully legal and fully ethical," Krentzman said. "I want it to be on the absolute up and up, being able to use what is legal to make sure Penn State teams are as competitive as they possibly can be, that players don't get poached and that there's great opportunities for the players who come here to take advantage of that and to connect."

Read more

Explaining Penn State's Name, Image and Likeness Legislation

New athletic director hire is 'critical' for Penn State, James Franklin says

Highlights from Penn State's first spring practice