There might be a surprising key to Penn State Football finally breaking through into College Football’s elite tier.
Penn State recently named who will be their new head men’s basketball coach. Mike Rhoades was introduced to Nittany Nation not too long ago. During his introductory press conference while laying out his vision for the programs future, he used a word Penn State fans have heard multiple times from James Franklin, ‘alignment.’
Alignment from the top down.
Fans have been hearing it a lot from Franklin since new athletic director, Pat Kraft, and new Penn State president Neeli Bendapudi have taken their roles.
But, hasn’t Penn State always had alignment from the top? The argument can be made that has not always been the case.
It seems there has been a change when it comes to James Franklin, since Krafts arrival.
Obviously, coming off an 11-2 season and a Rose Bowl Championship will make almost any coach happy, but, Franklin seems to be taking on the role of becoming the face of Penn State Athletics, and rightfully so.
Penn State Football has enjoyed tremendous success with Franklin at the helm, a big ten title, 3 NY6 Bowl wins, a return to national prominence almost every year of his tenure.
But, prior to Kraft’s arrival it seems Franklin focused mainly on his football program and that was it. He avoided the other sports, never using his Twitter profile to promote other Penn State sports to his over 277,000 followers.
That has all changed.
Franklin regularly is promoting every sport, from wrestling to Penn State softball. Franklin is using his platform to no longer just promote his football program, but every Penn State program.
One of the first videos we saw after Mike Rhoades was hired, was Franklin meeting Rhoades at Beaver Stadium, showing him around the football field.
Why Alignment Matters for James Franklin, Penn State Football
This change can only be correlated to Kraft and Bendapudi’s vision of what Penn State athletics should be.
PSU athletics were always good, but in the every changing landscape of college sports and NIL, support and exposure becomes even more important.
Kraft’s vision of making PSU a threat and contender in not just one sport but all varsity sports has resonated with Franklin, and what he has been waiting for since his arrival in State College.
True investment, not just from the fans which he always got, but from the President, the AD, the Board of Trustees, and the letterman. Penn State hasn’t had alignment like this before now, and thereason it is so important is because the cost of college athletics is increasing, on top of having to continuing to build your NIL initiatives. James Franklin runs a multi million dollar program for PSU, and according to the latest financial statement the returns are still pretty good. If alignment was the last hurdle for Franklin to clear to truly take Penn State where it can go, I believe he’s got it now. More importantly, Franklin seems to truly believe it, too.