Board Of Trustees Candidate Carl Nassib Focused On Student Financial Wellness

It’s been nearly eight years since former Penn State football walk-on defensive lineman Carl Nassib was drafted into the NFL.

A former Cleveland Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and Las Vegas Raider, Nassib spent six years playing football in the league. Since then, he’s been busy working with nonprofit organizations and philanthropists. Most recently, he’s launched his election campaign for a seat on Penn State’s Board of Trustees.

A cornerstone of Nassib’s campaign hinges on his advocacy and understanding of issues that face student-athletes and the work that can be done at the university level to support them.

Nassib’s first year at Penn State was in 2011 when he joined the football team as a walk-on in head coach Joe Paterno’s last year at the program’s helm. As a walk-on, Nassib wasn’t awarded any athletic aid until his sophomore year and earned a scholarship under new head coach Bill O’Brien. Even then, Nassib explained, players were given a $2,000 stipend for the entire semester and were too busy during the school year to work a job. Finances throughout the year got tight.

“I didn’t even have pennies to rub together,” Nassib said. “It was really, really tough.”

From spending summers working at the Creamery or filling up coolers for various kid camps, Nassib understands the value that NIL deals have for student-athletes to help them remain financially stable and succeed throughout the year academically.

A main component of his campaign for Penn State’s Board of Trustees is getting student-athletes the resources and education they need to make sure they’re fluent in financial literacy and have something left over from their college careers and their time spent competing in athletics.

“One thing I think is they missed the mark with NIL, they focus on the top tier of players who are getting six-figure, seven-figure deals — that’s great for them. That’s really, really powerful,” Nassib said. “For other athletes who were in my position that just need a few extra $1,000 for the entire semester so they can put gas in their car when they go home… It is going to be so beneficial for them more than people even realize. I’m really excited about it.”

Nassib also pulled from his own experience from his undergraduate education, explaining he wasn’t even aware he had a 13% interest rate on his student loans upon graduating. In this vein, Nassib explained that leaders across the country, but also at Penn State, can do more to help college students make good financial decisions and help themselves out in the future.

“I think that we can do a lot better as a country, and as leaders, and role models, to help young people transition into the next stage of life — being much more financially secure through education,” Nassib said. “When I get on the board, I want to help kids prepare for the future and have [a greater] sense of financial security so they’re not stressed.”

Nassib knows his perspective and lived experience as a student-athlete puts him in a unique position for the Board of Trustees to help these students maximize their potential.

“I’m going to fight for the education for these athletes because it can be a really positive thing, but it could be a very precarious thing if it’s not handled well,” he said.

He also believes his work with financial literacy organizations also puts him in a position to succeed in making decisions about the financial health of student-athletes but also for all students that attend Penn State.

Nassib serves as a brand ambassador with Financial Finesse, the nation’s leader in financial wellness workshops for employees across the country. With the organization, he’s worked to promote financial independence for student-athletes but has also collaborated with many players in the NFL on their finances.

“I have worked with dozens and dozens of NFL players to try and help them manage their finances better. Cutting down on their budget and really set themselves up for financial security, and now since the launch of NIL, I’ve been trying to bring that back to college athletes,” Nassib said. “There is no reason why a student-athlete, and just a student, shouldn’t all be really, really in tune with their finances.”

Since retiring from the NFL, Nassib has been working in philanthropy and helped to bring more attention and resources to philanthropic organizations across the country. His startup, Rayze, aims to help match professionals with nonprofits to bridge the gap with organizations that need more support.

“We want to be the LinkedIn of philanthropy where, if you’re really good at graphic design, if you’re good at accounting, but you don’t want to pick up trash, you want to do some pro bono accounting work for a nonprofit. Finding volunteering opportunities, finding nonprofits that need your help, and bridging that gap is what we’re aiming to do,” he said.

Nassib sits on the board of multiple nonprofits, guiding them on how they should modernize and function more efficiently in a digital world where everything seems to happen instantaneously. Nassib believes that his experience helping nonprofits, connecting with people, and helping create successful business models has prepared him to run for Penn State’s Board of Trustees.

“This is a great next step because I’ve been working with United Way, with multibillion-dollar nonprofits, and so it has poised me to step into this role,” he said.

In keeping with the idea of nonprofits, Nassib also echoed an important key position of his campaign, which is bringing national attention to Penn State and the things that its students accomplish with their work every year. In particular, he highlighted the importance of bringing more attention to causes like THON.

“It’s like my whole life is now philanthropy. I was at THON in February, wondering, ‘How is this not a nationally televised event? How do we not have huge headliners?'” he said. “I think that with my platform, my connections… THON needs to be this shining gem for all college students to look at and to be inspired by.”

As for his decision to run for the board itself, Nassib believes he’s approaching the role with the best intentions and truly wants to give back to the Penn State community. Nassib explained in his first game as a spectator shortly after retiring from the NFL, he was approached by Brandon Short to begin thinking about running for the position.

“I went to the Penn State game against Delaware,” Nassib said. “That was my first game as a spectator at Penn State, and I got to watch it, I got to feel it. I just was like, ‘I need to get more involved, I need to do more.'”

“I talked to half a dozen board members about their responsibilities and what I could bring to the table, and after a lot of conversations, I got really, really excited about it,” Nassib continued. “This isn’t something that I need to do. This is something that I want to do. I’m doing it to give back.”

Voting for the Board of Trustees election began on Wednesday, April 10, and ends at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 2. Nassib is listed under ballot position No. 5 for the election.

Editor’s note: Nassib’s interview is one story in a multi-part series that aims to feature alumni running for open seats on the Board of Trustees. Onward State does not, and will not, endorse any candidate(s) in this election. Check back to read more about the five candidates vying for spots on the board this election cycle.

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About the Author

Luke Pieczynski

Luke is a junior accounting major hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, and is Onward State's social media manager. He can often be found in the Starbucks line waiting for a nitro cold brew, or listening to one of Dua Lipa's latest releases. He's a fiercely loyal Sheetz Freak and will not settle for another Pennsylvania gas station. Please send your best political thriller to him on Twitter @lukepie11 or to his email [email protected].

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