Blue White Illustrated

May 2023

Penn State Sports Magazine

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1 0 M A Y 2 0 2 3 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M W hen coach Micah Shrewsberry left for Notre Dame in March, it was a blow to the Penn State men's basketball program. Just days after guiding the Nittany Lions to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011, the momentum stopped. The story behind Shrewsberry's exit in- volved a series of key missteps and failings spanning nearly eight months. Among them, the role of Penn State's preferred name, image and likeness collective, Suc- cess With Honor, stood as a point of frus- tration for the outgoing coach. Little progress was made during the season to generate NIL support for the program. While a last-minute push was starting to yield results, the failure to ad- dress NIL concerns earlier had eroded Shrewsberry's confidence in Penn State's efforts moving forward and ultimately contributed to his departure. In the aftermath of the coach's exit af- ter only two seasons in State College, the push by Penn State trustee Anthony Lu- brano on a March 13 fundraising call came into focus. According to more than a half- dozen basketball donors on the call, Lu- brano is said to have cut off Shrewsberry, identified himself as a trustee and princi- pal founder of Success With Honor, and stressed the need to care for all of Penn State's 31 athletics programs. On a basketball-specific call, with the head coach present, a message was uni- versally received by donors: In the opinion of a sitting trustee, support for a broad- based NIL approach superseded the im- portance of building a war chest for the men's basketball program. Asked how much he needed, Shrews- berry explained that Penn State's NIL support lagged behind several programs from the mid-major Southern Confer- ence. It was an unsubtle indication that the Nittany Lions were not receiving the level of support he believed was necessary to compete. University trustee Jay Paterno later sent out a tweet to his nearly 49,000 followers that appeared to echo Lubrano's perspec- tive. Michael Mauti, the former Penn State linebacker and a co-founder of Lions Leg- acy Club, an NIL organization focused on supporting the football program, took note. In an interview with Blue White Il- lustrated, Mauti voiced his frustration with the approach that Success With Honor had taken to address the needs of the top revenue-generating sports at the university. Mauti emphasized the need for an alignment of goals, messaging and ex- ecution, including the prioritization of football and men's basketball. "What they've been saying is not matching up with what they're doing," Mauti said. "I haven't seen the results of that. No one has. Micah said himself we were 14th out of 14. If we're delivering, why were we 14th out of 14 in the Big Ten, in terms of resources [for men's basket- ball]? That's not delivering. … That's not something I would be defending." Penn State trustee Brandon Short, himself a former Nittany Lion linebacker, echoed Mauti's concerns about the insuf- ficiency of the NIL efforts that had been made on behalf of the basketball program. NIL CONCERNS COME TO FORE AFTER COACH'S EXIT N A T E B A U E R | N A T E . B A U E R @ O N 3 . C O M NEWS & NOTES Micah Shrewsberry was reportedly dissatisfied with the efforts to generate NIL support for the men's basketball team, contributing to his decision to leave for Notre Dame. PHOTO BY DANIEL ALTHOUSE

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