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James Franklin sends BOLD message to Penn State football fans about NIL

Penn State football coach James Franklin just made one of his boldest statements to date regarding the Nittany Lions’ NIL situation.

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Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin calls a timeout in the second half against the Utah Utes of the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday afternoon, Penn State football coach James Franklin took to Twitter to send Nittany Lions fans a message. Unlike his usual recruiting bat-signal “#WeAre…Better!” tweets or birthday well-wishes, this message was a call to arms for the Penn State community regarding NIL. The message marks the latest in a series of bold statements regarding NIL that Franklin has made in the last week.

James Franklin delivers call to arms for Penn State football fans

Happy Valley United was formed in June from a merger of Penn State’s two leading NIL collectives, Success with Honor and the Lions Legacy Club. The move was widely regarded as an aligning of strategic priorities among the Penn State community, which had disagreed on how to best approach NIL since its introduction to college athletics in 2021. Wednesday, James Franklin tweeted a message showing his support for and encouraging fans to donate to Happy Valley United.

“Every game week we call for our #107kstrong,” Franklin wrote. “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 [Happy Valley United] & help us compete TODAY! #WeAre”

New NIL push underway in Happy Valley

Franklin’s statement is one of his most direct appeals to date regarding NIL. However, it is only the latest in a series of bold messages sent by the Penn State football coach in recent days.

“Two years ago, we were way behind,” Franklin said regarding NIL on the Next Up with Adam Breneman podcast last week. “In the last year, we’re starting to make some significant progress, but we’re two years behind. I think [athletic director] Pat Kraft has recognized that. [Kraft] has done a great job of going out and educating our people. That’s what we’re doing as a football program as well. But we need all of the Penn Staters worldwide to understand this is where we’re at.”

Penn State fans have become increasingly aware of the school’s standing in the NIL landscape since comments made by former Nittany Lion basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry surfaced in March. Since then, there has been an increased effort (and debate) among the Penn State community as to how to best position the university in the NIL landscape moving forward.

Only time will tell whether or not this latest call to arms will work. But given the coordinated message coming out of State College in recent weeks, it’s clear that Penn State isn’t shying away from the NIL debate anymore.



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Matt is a Co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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