Pat Kraft became an athletic director at Penn State one year after the name, image and likeness movement came into place, as things continue to change early on with NIL.
“I feel like we’re really in a good spot,” Kraft said, via Lions247. “I don’t lose as much sleep over that anymore. Do we have to get better? Yes. This is here to stay. This is part of the world we’re living in. I think it’s really hard for those of us — I said this when we started — to really walk through this NIL space. It’s counter to everything we all grew up with in the industry. When you speak about it and you try to educate not only your students but your fans and your base, it’s OK to do these things.
“Infrastructure, I think we’re in a really good spot. We’re selling all of our athletes’ jerseys, which was an important piece, through OneTeam, and Fanatics picked up about seven of the sports. [We’re] on Campus Ink, so everyone will be able to do their own uniform. So that very visible credit piece in recruiting they’ll have. We now have all the back-end support for our athletes.”
Kraft feels that their current model is unsustainable, as he believes there’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding the type of deals some student athletes are getting.
“It’s hard,” Kraft said. “I’m just being honest with you. I think it’s really difficult. The NCAA a few weeks ago came out with their rules and regulations. I couldn’t understand them myself, and that’s what I do for a living.”
Above all, Kraft believes that there is a path for all Penn State student-athletes to be successful with NIL, whether you’re the starting QB for the university or not.
“You will have the opportunity to maximize your value when you come to Penn State, irregardless of your sport, because we’ve got gymnasts that have a social media presence that are doing extremely well,” Kraft said. “A lot of it is driven through social media.”