Penn State QB Sean Clifford launches NIL company 'for the players, by the players'

JON SAUBER
Centre Daily Times (TNS)
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford.

The ability for college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL) has taken college athletics by storm since it was widely approved in the summer of 2021.

Athletes from across the country have taken advantage of the newfound legal profiting and have earned money for the work they've done building their own brands — whether that's on or off the field.

Over the last month, two prominent Penn State adjacent entities have formed in order to help athletes earn that money and build their public image.

Penn State redshirt senior starting quarterback Sean Clifford announced the launch of his new company — Limitless NIL — in a story that was published Sunday night by ESPN's Pete Thamel. Clifford's company will be a part of the athlete side of NIL issues.

The Nittany Lion quarterback told ESPN he was looking for an agency to help him navigate NIL — which helped him make over $100,000, per the story — and struggled to find a company that could do so at the level he wanted.

"It's the agency that I was looking for that I couldn't find," Clifford told ESPN. "It's for the players, by the players."

Clifford's venture already includes multiple Power-Five athletes, including teammate Ji'Ayir Brown and Penn State women's basketball player Anna Camden.

Brown's first deal, with the help of Limitless, is set to be a custom pizza named after him at Snap Custom Pizza in State College.

The quarterback has also included his brother — and teammate — Liam as the director of development and former teammate Aeneas Hawkins as chief athlete officer.

The company plans to take a 15% cut of all deals made, and limited fall and spring academic responsibilities have opened the door for Clifford to dive in head-first to creating and maintaining the company. His new venture also drew positive comment from his head coach, James Franklin.

Clifford wants his company to help fellow student-athletes take advantage of NIL, while also helping teach them about the new legislation, something Franklin saw as a plus.

"Sean has demonstrated great passion, interest and creativity early on in this NIL space and has gained invaluable business experiences," Franklin told ESPN. "He has taken advantage of the NIL opportunities presented to him, but he has also taken it upon himself to educate his teammates on the impact NIL can have."

PSU alumni collective: Prior to Clifford launching Limitless NIL, a group of alumni put together a collective in order to help Penn State athletes profit off their NIL.

The collective — named Success With Honor — has a volunteer advisory board comprised of many famous Nittany Lion alumni, including former football players LaVar Arrington, Todd Blackledge and Michael Robinson, former wrestler David Taylor and current Jordan Brand shoe designer Kelsey Amy, among others.

The purpose of the group is to "(leverage) the collective power of the nation's largest university alumni base to help equip Nittany Lion student-athletes with the tools and resources necessary for them to excel both during and beyond their time in State College. More importantly, we seek to help student-athletes maximize their NIL opportunities the right way, without ever compromising the values of the university and the legacy of all those who have donned the blue and white in the past," per its website.

The collective is a nonprofit organization that operates outside of the university. It has several tiers of subscriptions, allowing fans to interact with student athletes and receive benefits for anywhere from $10 to $500 per month.

The benefits range from exclusive interviews to Success With Honor apparel to one-on-one student-athlete training sessions.