Penn State NIL Collective To Offer FB Players Disability Insurance

  • We Are NIL, a rebranded Penn State collective, plans to offer disability insurance to top football players.
  • The organization hopes to raise $6-10 million to do so.
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
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A name, image, and likeness collective at Penn State, called We Are NIL, could potentially be a model for offering one of the most important benefits to football players: disability insurance. 

Formerly called the Nittany Commonwealth, We Are NIL hopes to raise $6-10 million, much of which will go to providing permanent total disability insurance for top athletes, founder Michael Krentzman told Front Office Sports.

It has already successfully secured insurance for offensive tackle Caedan Wallace, and plans to do so for several others. In some cases, Krentzman said, it will purchase additional insurance beyond what Penn State’s athletic department offers.

The idea is potentially monumental, given the previous limitations on insurance offerings for college athletes. The NCAA has long tried to shirk responsibilities for athlete insurance — the term “student-athlete” itself was created as a legal workaround to keep the governing body from being liable for workers’ compensation.

Permanent total disability insurance, which provides weekly wages to people who have completely lost the ability to work, is a class of workers’ compensation. Some schools like Penn State, for example, offer disability insurance to some athletes as an extra benefit — but there’s often a cap to what they provide for budgetary reasons.

Even for outside entities, purchasing insurance to athletes is an arduous process. Not all athletes qualify, Krentzman said — they must demonstrate certain health qualifications and the potential to be a top draft pick. Some also lack support systems that can help them navigate the significant amount of paperwork involved.

But despite the complications, the collective hopes to provide benefits that are “more important than money,” Krentzman said.

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