Lions Legacy Club becomes first NIL collective dedicated to Penn State football

New program will connect student-athletes with local and national revenue-earning opportunities

STATE COLLEGE, Penn (September 6, 2022) – Former Penn State football and retired NFL players have partnered with Blueprint Sports to unveil the Lions Legacy Club – the first name, image, and likeness (NIL) collective to specifically support student-athletes in the Penn State Football program. While other NIL collectives have been formed surrounding Penn State athletics, the Lions Legacy Club is the first one dedicated exclusively to football.

The Lions Legacy Club is spearheaded by former Lion’s quarterback, Chris Ganter, who will serve as general manager alongside former Penn State football and retired NFL players including Ki-Jana Carter and Michael Mauti.

“I am honored to lead the Lions Legacy Club and give back to the football program that has given me so much throughout my life,” said Ganter. “Knowing how competitive the college football landscape can be, our goal is to create top notch opportunities for these student-athletes and make a significant impact to ensure a sustainable future for the program.”

Through the Lions Legacy Cub, local and national businesses can align their brands with Penn State football players by creating custom marketing campaigns, securing speaking engagements and autograph sessions, and more. Tax-deductible contributions can also be made through the BPS Foundation, a 501c3 organization dedicated to educating, encouraging and assisting student-athletes in their efforts to engage with the local community through charitable causes. The BPS Foundation is one of the first NIL organizations in the country to earn a federal tax exemption.

“We are confident this collective is off to a great start, especially under Chris Ganter’s leadership,” said Michael Mauti, retired NFL player. “The heart of Penn State football lives strong in all of us and we hope to share this passion with the fans, families, and alumni that we will engage with, to grow the organization.”

Chris Ganter’s roots in Penn State football go back decades, as his father also coached at Penn State for nearly 30 years. Ganter has worked in sports and entertainment management for over a decade, with organizations including the Pittsburgh Pirates and The Jonas Brothers Change for the Children Foundation.

“There hasn’t been a more exciting time to be a student-athlete, than right now,” said Ki-Jana Carter, retired NFL player. “The Lions Legacy Club is truly a special group with the expertise and passion to take Penn State football to new heights and help student athletes earn the compensation they deserve for working hard on and off the field.”

Through the Lions Legacy Club, all participating student-athletes will receive guidance on the fundamentals of financial and tax management to ensure all transactions are compliant with current guidelines.


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Mike Smith

General Manager

Mike Smith joined Micconope 1851 in March 2023 and is excited to be the General Manager and looks forward to working with Blueprint Sports increase NIL revenue generation for Florida State University student-athletes. Smith comes to Micconope 1851 from Catawba College where he held the title as the Senior Director of Athletics, Development. Prior to working in Athletics at Catawba College, Mike served as the Associate Athletics Director for External Relations at Charleston Southern University. Smith has an impressive background in the collegiate athletics industry, having held senior level development and corporate sponsorship sales roles at The University of Southern Mississippi, Limestone University, the Sun Belt Conference, Florida Atlantic University, and with multimedia rights-holders Tele South Communications at the University of Mississippi, Learfield Sports at UNC Chapel Hill, and with International Sports Properties at Georgia Tech. Smith is a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and holds a master’s degree in Business Management from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his new role here at Micconppe 1851, Smith will be responsible for raising major gifts for NIL deals as well as securing NIL corporate sponsorships for Florida State University student-athletes. Mike looks forward to helping ensure the FSU student-athletes have the resources and leadership opportunities to remain competitive nationally and positioned for success well beyond graduation. Mike is married to Katy Smith; the couple looks forward to relocating to Tallahassee, Florida, and becoming a part of the Micconope 1851 and Seminole family!

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