The Rise and Rally Bowl is still scheduled to occur Jan. 5-8 in Atlantic City, N.J., despite pending review from Penn State’s compliance office.
Matt Stolberg, associate athletic director for compliance and student-athlete services, confirmed Monday his office was still looking into Rise and Rally’s alternative bowl game for Penn State’s senior class.
Mark Brennan, the editor of Fight On State and a spokesman for the event, said there could be potential compliance issues, but the organizers of the Rise and Rally are confident that the festivities will not run into any roadblocks.
“We wouldn’t be doing this if we thought there were any issues with compliance that were going to come up,” Brennan said.
Rise and Rally is an organization made up of former lettermen and fans who helped gather an assembly of Penn Staters to cheer the Nittany Lions for their early morning practice on July 31.
In lieu of a bowl game, the 2012 Penn State seniors who “have exhausted their eligibility” have been invited to three days of festivities in Atlantic City. According to a Rise and Rally press release, there will be “film and autograph sessions, rallies, presentations, and party after party.” The event will conclude with “a giant tailgate-themed event in the House of Blues concert hall.”
Tickets to the event are already being sold on Rise and Rally’s website. A portion of the purchase price will help cover the expenses for seniors wishing to attend the event. Special sponsorship packages can also cover all the full cost for one senior to come.
Brennan said the event abides by NCAA law because there is no actual bowl game for the seniors. He said non-returning players have already taken actions, such as hiring agents, that would otherwise have been illegal had Penn State been playing postseason football.
“What’s happening here, and I would like to be extremely clear on this, is that these players, their trips are being given to them as compensation for being at the event,” Brennan said.
Fullback Michael Zordich is the only senior who has publicly said he is attending the event.
“The senior class, we’re all very excited about it,” he said in Rise and Rally’s press release. “This is going to be a great opportunity for us to get out there and see all the fans … [and to] have a good time — just kind of mix and mingle and be ourselves.”
Rise and Rally’s website had a list of some seniors posted on its website Sunday night, but that list has been removed. Brennan said some names should be released in the next couple of days.
Brennan added that the organizers of Rise and Rally have not reached out to any Penn State underclassmen who are returning to play football next season, but it would technically be OK for them to attend if they paid their own way.
Former players such as Daryll Clark, Derrick Williams, Trey Bauer and Aaron Maybin are also set to attend the event, according to the press release.