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LaVar Arrington and Penn State lettermen rally for NIL support

LaVar Arrington
Photo credit: Penn State Athletics

LaVar Arrington, a College Football Hall of Famer who had a legendary college career at Penn State, is recommitting himself to help the university’s next generation of players. He realized that he had lost touch with his alma mater when he visited the program a couple of years ago and didn’t recognize the players.

“That was a challenge for me to learn who we are and to reconnect and find that value,” Arrington said during Thursday’s season kickoff event in Avalon, New Jersey.

RELATED: Penn State’s James Franklin asks donors for support through NIL

Arrington, along with other Penn State lettermen, attended the exclusive Lions Legacy Club season kickoff at the Avalon Yacht Club, where the focus was on educating top supporters of the program about NIL opportunities.

“I think we all have to reconnect and find the value of what our institution has and what it holds, and everybody plays a part in that,” Arrington emphasized. “I think that’s why this whole coming together is super important for us, is because we all hold individual power to be able to make this thing better.”

Following his NFL career, Arrington found success in media with shows on FOX Sports Radio and his new network, “Up On Game.” He uses this platform to promote his alma mater and specifically highlight the efforts Penn State is making in NIL.

Arrington expressed his concern about the impact of NIL and the transfer portal on college football, noting that NIL opportunities could entice players to leave their communities prematurely – causing potential losses for programs like Penn State.

“I don’t know about you, but we’re not a community of losing,” Arrington declared. “We’ve gone through a whole lot and have still come out on top and have still been able to stand strong, stand tall and stand proud. This is one of those moments where we have to rally together and really, really put the story out there and educate one another and everyone around us as to how critical and imperative it is to be able to create the support.”

Penn State All-American linebacker Brandon Short echoed Arrington’s sentiments, acknowledging the hesitations in the Penn State fan base regarding NIL but emphasizing the importance of evolving with the changing game of college football.

“I get [the hesitation] completely,” Short said. “I’m old school. I’m a Joe Paterno guy, hard-nosed and get that we don’t pay players. That’s one of the reasons why I came to Penn State [in the 1990s], but the game has evolved. In order to be successful, you have to evolve with the game.”

RELATED: Penn State’s Drew Allar believes NIL helps student-athletes get involved in the community

Short, who was named the most valuable player of the 1998 Citrus Bowl and played in the NFL for the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers, used the evolution of safety in college football as an example of the game’s positive changes. He believes that the next evolution is NIL and compensation for college athletes, which will be life-changing for many players.

The kickoff event saw the presence of over a dozen other Lettermen, all emphasizing that NIL’s success will require a team effort.

“We all play a part in it,” Arrington concluded. “That’s why they say ‘WE ARE.’ So let’s live by our moniker. Let’s continue to build this [NIL] thing the way that we should. Let’s listen and build ‘WE ARE.’”