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Despite setbacks, Shrewsberry’s exit may help Penn State in the long run

While it hurts right now, Micah Shrewsberry’s exit has forced some important discussions in the Penn State community.



Penn State University, NIL funding, Micah Shrewsberry
Mar 18, 2023; Des Moines, IA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Micah Shrewsberry signals to his players during the first half against the Texas Longhorns at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Last Wednesday, former Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry decided to take the head coaching role at the University of Notre Dame. Since then, the Penn State basketball program has essentially collapsed — the Nittany Lions have lost a total of 12 players now to the transfer portal, decommits, and graduation/NBA Draft. This week, some in fighting has taken place between Penn State University trustee Jay Paterno and Penn State football legend Michael Mauti over the school’s NIL funding and the direction PSU is headed when it comes to the modern landscape of college athletics.

Long story short, Penn State is in a crucial spot right now when it comes to the future of its athletic programs, and the school has two choices in front of it: do nothing and hope someone steps in to limit NIL (which frankly, is not going to happen), or get with the times and embrace NIL like other major programs — such as Michigan and Ohio State — are doing. Micah Shrewsberry leaving hurt Penn State basketball in the short term, but overall, it has started an important dialogue that should be beneficial for the university and its athletic teams.

Micah Shrewsberry gave Penn State a warning before leaving in late March

During Penn State’s most recent basketball season, former head coach Micah Shrewsberry was able to voice his thoughts on Penn State’s failing NIL support back in December. According to the former head coach, the Nittany Lions are 13th or 14th when it comes to NIL (for basketball), which was likely a large reason that he left for Notre Dame — a school with solid NIL finding for basketball — at the first chance he got.

“Right now, you have to adjust to what’s happening in the times,” Shrewsberry said on the BWI podcast. “It’s something that, it’s really big. It’s really big in recruiting and it’s really big in player retention … We got guys. But we also lost guys,” Shrewsberry said. “We’re not gonna be like Illinois. Illinois is one of the best in the league right now with what they’re doing with NIL. But we have to do something. That’s something where we can’t fall behind.

“It’s about what you want as a program and what you’re happy with. If we have a little bit more that we’re offering to our guys, or that we’re doing for our team in NIL, that top 30 class is probably top 15 in the country. Just one or two more guys. I can’t speak for everybody, but I would say of 14 teams in the Big Ten, we’re probably 14. Maybe 13,” Shrewsberry said. “So it’s just about who we want to be as a program. What are we willing to say is going to be our standard?”

Penn State University needs to support NIL finding, yet some stand in the way of the school’s growth

As I said, Penn State trustee Jay Paterno and former standout linebacker Mike Mauti got into it a bit earlier. From where we stand, Mauti was right to call him out for words without action.

Here is what Paterno stated to kick off the discussion surrounding Penn State basketball and NIL:

Here is Mauti’s response:

At the end of the day, while things may be ugly right now, Micah Shrewsberry leaving Penn State University will likely benefit the school’s athletic department in the long run for one main reason: it has forced a discussion surrounding Penn State’s NIL funding, and that is something that needed to be addressed. If the Nittany Lions are willing to embrace NIL to its fullest extent, one of the largest and most passionate fanbases in the world could be a driving factor for Penn State basketball, football, and more to start winning national titles.

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