Penn State head coach James Franklin has tried multiple approaches to improving name, image, and likeness support for the football program since its inception two years ago.
Initially pleading with administrators to take an aggressive stance on what quickly became a competitive national landscape, the message began by juggling both pursuits. Eventually bringing out staff members to communicate the issue to fans, Franklin has dabbled between media messaging and working behind the scenes while saying little. Still wanting for NIL support, however, the Nittany Lion leader has discussed the issue at length in media appearances this summer.
Wednesday afternoon, Franklin offered a new tack. Communicating directly with Penn State football fans via Twitter, Franklin urged all to fully embrace NIL.
From his Tweet:
“Every game week we call for our #107kstrong. TOGETHER we are locked in, committed & show the tremendous power of the Penn State Community. We need EVERYONE locked in on being 1-0 in the NIL race. There is power in our #750kLivingAlumni & we need everyone to take PRIDE & COMPETE NOW. Let’s do this together Nittany Nation. Donate to @HappyValleyUtd & help us compete TODAY! #WeAre“
Penn State football NIL challenge
Franklin’s comments come at a time when the program is searching to build momentum both on the field and off. And that search has come amidst a need to adjust its stance on compensating players dramatically.
Franklin acknowledged that the process has been a challenge.
“It’s been a little bit resistant from a historical perspective. It’s been a little bit resistant internally,” Franklin told BWI in May. “In the beginning, we didn’t embrace it as an athletic department. And then externally, trying to get people bought into it.
“If it’s just the coaches out pounding the drum, it’s gonna be difficult to get done. That’s where, when the AD is pounding the same drum as the coaches, whether it’s for facilities or whether it’s NIL, I think more people are open to listening because they’re hearing it from multiple sources. So that’s just the reality. If you say, what do we need to do to stay at this level or higher, year in and year out, we’re still behind in that area.”
Working to combat those hurdles, Franklin has pleaded publicly and more forcefully than at any other point in the process for NIL support this summer. Recently joining former player Adam Breneman for his podcast, Franklin acknowledged the progress that has been made in the past year under the leadership of Pat Kraft as the program’s new athletic director.
Still, he said, the power of Penn State’s broader fan base has not yet been harnessed.
“We need all of the Penn Staters worldwide to understand this is where we’re at,” Franklin told Breneman. “If all 750,000 alumni would just do something, there’s tremendous power in that.”