Success With Honor Subscription Invites Alumni To Impact Future Of Penn State Athletics
When Penn State alumni-backed NIL collective Success With Honor publicly launched in March, the organization began pursuing brand partnerships, fan outreach, and influencer marketing in compliance with the NCAA’s new name, image, and likeness guidelines.
Student Athlete NIL, an agency bridging the gap between brands, universities, and student-athletes, oversees the Penn State-based Success With Honor initiative. Anchored by an advisory board of prominent Nittany Lions like LaVar Arrington, Calvin Booth, and Lisa Salters, Success With Honor seeks to leverage connections with the country’s largest college alumni base.
“It’s not just about having a face on a website,” CEO Jason Belzer told Onward State. “It’s about somebody that’s going to go to their former teammates and people that they know that are alumni of [various sports] and say, ‘How do we get you guys involved?’ whether it’s financially or through some other means.”
Belzer explained Success With Honor’s clientele is not the student-athletes, but rather alumni and third-party businesses who could support them.
“Whether they’re in State College, in Pennsylvania, or nationally [located and] want to do work with Penn State student-athletes from a name, image, and likeness standpoint… we basically handle that entire process because the university can’t be involved,” Belzer said.
Success With Honor works with nationwide corporations, like Coca-Cola, to develop their brand strategy at the college level.
“What we are doing is acting like a sports marketing agency…for the student-athletes at the university,” Belzer said. “We can contact the kid. We can negotiate the deal and do the whole thing.”
Student-athletes will also soon be able to land internships through Success With Honor, simultaneously earning compensation and developing professional relationships for the future.
“Our goal is to try to get Penn State everywhere,” Belzer said. “When a student-athlete…looks and says, ‘Where do I see student-athletes really engaging in NIL in a really cool way?’ Penn State is hopefully going to be at the top of that list.”
With alumni acting as Success With Honor’s other group of clients, the agency has already raised over $100,000 in subscriber contributions, with a goal to grow into the millions. Success With Honor serves its alumni base with different incentives based on subscription tiers. Alumni can get involved with monthly subscription packages ranging from $10 to $500.
The number of benefits increases upward alongside their corresponding donation levels. Perks include autographs, meet and greets, appearances, training sessions, NFTs, and apparel.
“Anybody that puts money in is certainly going to get an opportunity to get a return on their investment,” Belzer said. “But, it’s also individuals trying to help student-athletes earn extra dollars and have access to opportunities that maybe they wouldn’t otherwise.”
“It’s not just about what’s happening today on the field or the court,” Belzer continued. “How are we setting these student-athletes up for success in their life after they leave State College?”
When making contributions, donors can designate specific sports as the recipient. Among individual sports at Penn State, football, wrestling, and men’s basketball lead, respectively. Though, a significant number of subscribers have opted not to donate to a specific sport.
“We have almost seven figures raised, and the vast majority of the money has been allocated to all sports,” Belzer said. “Probably 75%.”
Despite the autonomy experienced by Success With Honor’s subscriber base, Belzer was unequivocal in stating his agency is not a “pay-for-play recruiting” campaign.
“When somebody allocates money to a sport, that money gets assigned to be spread out to as many student-athletes as possible,” Belzer said. “If a coach calls me and says, ‘I need you to get $50,000 to the student-athlete,’ I’m going to say: ‘unfortunately, that’s not what we do.'”
Legendary Penn State head coach Joe Paterno often preached the importance of earning “success with honor.” Years later, Belzer’s NIL agency appears to be echoing those sentiments through its focus on ethical operations.
“I think what Penn Staters want is to do things with integrity,” Belzer said. “[They want to] say, ‘Hey, we’re not one of those SEC schools…that’s doing this just to get kids paid.’ That’s never been what Penn State has been about.”
The decision to allow specific allocation offers donors the chance to make a noteworthy difference in their favorite sports’ futures and individual student athletes’ lives — specifically in sports that might otherwise receive less attention from businesses.
“The reality is…if we only have a few dollars, there’s only so much we can do,” Belzer said. “If there’s a lot of money in the pot, we can do lots of great things.”
“It’s not just about football and wrestling and men’s basketball,” Belzer continued. “If you support women’s sports, pick a women’s sport that we can go help…we want to help them.”
Success With Honor will see its most notable public event to date, when it hosts events at Penn State’s April 23 Blue-White spring football game. Multiple events, including an autograph signing featuring students from “pretty much every sport,” were confirmed by Belzer, though a public announcement is still pending at this time.
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Nittany Lions old and new have received new jersey numbers ahead of the 2022 season.