What if the stars of Penn State’s past had the freedom to sell? Arrington, Collins, Millen and Crispins talk about | Jones
I know it’s amazing, but we are officially in a new era of the freedom for college athletes to make money like other students, and the Earth has not left its proper axis of rotation. In a way, we are all still OK.
You know why ? Because a lot of players were making money from the start. They were just forced, by the NCAA’s insane grip on power, to do it in a secret way. For all these decades, the ridiculous pretext of “amateur mission” meant you couldn’t do it in the open.
Can you imagine what some Penn State athletes could have accomplished in the great American business world had they had the chance?
That’s why I decided to make a list of former Nittany Lions who could have done a murder with NIL Freedom. I even asked a few of them how they would have reacted. I texted the question like this:
Alright, this is [enter year of player’s senior season] and you can earn $ on endorsements. What product would you be perfect to sell then?
There was only one man to start with. His last college season and the height of his popularity was 1999. The Nit in question was, I believe, the most adored and adored player of all time for PSU.
SMS Lavar arrington in response:
“Joe wouldn’t have gone, so it wouldn’t have benefited me LOL”
Well, that’s a given. But the All-American linebacker who made the # 11 famous long before Micah Parsons has never been known to adhere to Paterno’s limits. What makes him a natural for the approval of the products. And that is, after all, a guess. Arrington continued:
“But if everything is given, I don’t have to guess. Look at the list of products that were sold while I was there. Now add more that I could have. Like, cars, places to eat, places to exercise, places to stay, my favorite soaps, shampoos, my favorite drinks, my snacks. Hell I could have had my clean branded snacks and drinks. I could have done afterparties for the games, my own show.
Endless opportunities and I might be starting my own business to do just that for this next generation. To be fowarding something! About the game. “
Okay, but if he had had to choose an endorsement of something he really liked at the time, what would it have been?
“NCAA College Football on PlayStation.”
Was Arrington good? I asked him to be honest.
“I always played with 11 back then. I never lost. I was unblockable.
The rest of my list would have mixed up the kings and queens of Q-rating. Not necessarily the best players, although a lot of them naturally would have been. But some who were just great personalities.
the first of which was to be Matt Millen. Famous for having his captain removed by Paterno for (at least as the coach saw) insubordination, Millen’s cash-in years would have been 1978-79. He played defense up front like an Oakland Raider before he even became one – down-n-sale. And so his textual choice of an approval makes perfect sense:
“Port-o-pottys. I’ll be number one in business number two.
Hey, what do you see more tailgating around Beaver Stadium? They are everywhere. Unparalleled product visibility.
Millen even prepared a slogan:
“There is no better way to go!”
Also, great synergy for a player that you love or hate. Stick a smiling Millen-face logo on the urinal. It’s suddenly a target of opportunity for to visit Fans. Maybe expand the business to opposite places. The opportunities are becoming exponential!
Speaking of venues, a few of my next nominees have focused on the standards of the State College where they hung out
Fast forward to 1994 and Kerry Collins is the principal of what is still the most prolific offense in school history, architects of the PSU’s undefeated final season.
What would Collins have approved? His response was brief and immediate:
OK, funny, but I reminded him that alcohol is a prohibited NIL product. Collins texted his Plan B with the tagline:
– The G Man, then. ‘Open up to 2 drink specials, and someone said they serve food there.’ ”
Yes, Kerry, we may need to submit this to the NIL Audit Board for approval and get back to you.
A few other obvious choices for former PSU football players who would have been NIL gold mines: Saquon Barkley, Trace McSorley, Matt McGloin, Michael robinson, Ki-Jana Carter, Todd blackledge, Curt warner, Mike reid.
Then there were some not so obvious possibilities. You kind of had to be with some of these guys a lot to appreciate their quick wit or wacky sense of humor. They could’ve been attractions for everyone, the kind of guy who could throw it all away. Many of them were various offensive linemen: Joe marvin, Chima Okoli, AQ Shipley, Keith Conlin. The list is really endless.
Penn State also has a rich heritage of supporting not only the major “paid sports” of men’s football and basketball, but also all manner of Olympic sports. So the possibility would have existed even since the relative primordial silt of the 1980s for sponsorship deals for them.
In the modern age, how about a wrestler Ed ruth, former Susquehanna Twp., then star of Blair Academy (NJ) who became PSU’s first three-time national champion? At 184, he was a flamboyant pinner, loved by crowds. And, although speaking quietly, he had a stream of consciousness vibration where you never knew what he might say.
Or you could take the WABAC Women’s Basketball Machine, past Maggie Lucas and Kelly Mazzante in the mid-80s and Suzie mcconnell. Coming from a sprawling basketball family in Pittsburgh, McConnell (now Serio) had the smile and the pizzazz that made her yet perhaps the most beloved Lady Lion of all time. The family brand lives with its nephew, former Sixer goaltender and current Indiana Pacers, TJ McConnell.
As for men’s hoops, Joe crispin and his little brother Jon were an unsinkable combo in the 2001 NCAA Sweet 16 Race, a rare achievement at Penn State. Joe ended his career as the Big Ten’s top scorer this season and in the first team of all conferences. Meanwhile, Jon was the most cited member of the team. While probably no better than the Fourth or Fifth Most Important Player, he was a natural speaker. It’s a talent he turned into a very successful broadcast career, first at FOX Sports, now at ESPN.
The brothers started the season with a memorable Kentucky upset when they totaled 57 points (Joe 31, Jon 26) at UK’s Rupp Arena.
Joe texted about the sale of his jersey and his likeness that year in PSU stores:
“Here is what I have said to many on this topic: 1) I was always OK [financially] because I had enough money to go to Meyer Dairy. But when I saw a Nike No.3 jersey sell for $ 60, and when I played video games, I wondered how it worked financially. 2) Eight months after my final year [while playing for the Phoenix Suns] I received a check for these same things from the NBA licensing agreement. I thought: this is a little strange.
Weird indeed. This will no longer happen to university athletes; this is part of the subject matter of the O’Bannon trial and the subsequent NIL reform.
Never as accomplished as Joe as a PSU hoopster but, even then, his equal behind a mic – and then some – Jon had a perfect venue concept:
“Joe and I would be the face of Hoss’s Steakhouse and the Northland Bowl. No kidding. We were regulars.
Not that Jon wouldn’t have tried to convince a local luxury car dealership of its effectiveness:
“My ego told me I would be the face of the local BMW dealership, but my reality would always bring me back to Hoss. “
The presence of the brothers was so constant there that they enjoyed a certain privileged status:
“Joe and I had our own pepper and Parmesan dressing in the fridge at Hoss.”
“Hoss’s: Eat until it hurts.”
“Bowling: basketball is easy. Bowling is for real athletes.
I told you, it would have been natural.
More PennLive sports coverage:
• Given NIL freedom at Penn State, what could Matt McGloin have done? His answer surprised me.
• Where does your school rank among the richest and poorest Power 5 college football programs? New income figures for all 65.
• Sabrina Ionescu should have been making insurance announcements years ago; Freedom NIL will free his successors.