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OBC to partner with UMaine athlete

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ORONO – An area brewery is partnering with a UMaine athlete in an attempt at mutual support.

Orono Brewing Company is in the process of establishing a relationship with Shanna Scribner, a University of Maine graduate student and track and field athlete. The new NCAA policy surrounding name, image and likeness (NIL) went into effect on July 1, greatly expanding the opportunities for college athletes to benefit from their relative celebrity.

This change – which sprang from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in mid-June about possible antitrust violations stemming from the NCAA’s prohibition of athletes’ profit from their NIL – in turn led to 13 states passing legislation that began on July 1 either allowing college athletes to earn money from their NIL or prohibiting the NCAA from punishing those who did. In addition, another 11 states will have similar laws in effect by 2023.

Maine is not one of these states; with no legislation on the books, UMaine and other schools in the state will likely defer to NCAA guidelines.

The Scribner-OBC partnership started the same way so many things start these days – through the magic of social media.

“This partnership came about when I direct messaged Orono Brewing Company on Instagram once the NIL rule was changed per the NCAA,” Scribner said. “Through this message, I let Abe Furth know that I had decided to return to UMaine to start my Master’s in Biomedical Engineering and throw for the Track and Field team after playing four years of softball during my undergraduate years. I asked if they would be interested in sponsoring me as a student-athlete and they said yes!”

Scribner is obviously a rarity – a four-year varsity athlete in one sport during her undergraduate years switching gears to another as a grad student. However, her athletic accomplishments are far from the only thing she brings to the table. She is the President and Founder of the American Sign Language Club at UMaine, was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for three years and was the co-fundraising chair of Biomedical Engineering Club.

Scribner met with Abe and Heather Furth, the co-owners of Orono Brewing Company, upon her return to Orono.

“We connected over our passions for enhancing the great Orono culture,” Scribner said. “I was very impressed with both Heather and Abe as humans and businesspeople. Abe, Heather and I felt it was mutually beneficial to enter this partnership, so we are working with the University of Maine to formalize and accept our sponsorship agreement. I am very excited to work with everyone at OBC!”

For his part, Abe Furth has long been a champion of UMaine athletics and the greater Orono community at large. For him, getting involved with something like this was a no-brainer.

“We're dedicated to being part of the University of Maine experience,” he said. “UMaine athletes bring so much excitement and attention to our area, and this is a great way to support all the hard work that they do. 

“We're already known for supporting UMaine athletics through our work with Black Bear Sports Properties,” he continued. “And we plan on continuing to grow that relationship. We're excited about direct athlete endorsement because we believe it's a great way to support the hard work of student-athletes and to engage directly with students. We believe that this is a win-win situation.”

As for Scribner, this opportunity is less about the immediate benefits and more about what it might allow her to build going forward.

“Whether or not there is any continuation of my athletic career beyond UMaine,” she said, “I feel as though the number one thing I will receive out of this sponsorship is the opportunity to create and build relationships. I believe that relationships are the most important part of life, and I am excited to reach more people in this world! Little things make the big things.”

As for Abe and OBC, they’re clearly excited for the chance to work with an athlete – and a person – whom they hold in the highest regard.

“Shanna is a highly engaged member of the University of Maine community, an avid volunteer and a great athlete,” said Furth. “We're proud to celebrate the work she does both on and off the field.”

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Scribner is already in midseason form when it comes to questions about OBC. Half in jest, I tossed out a question about her favorite OBC beer … and she was READY:

“My favorite OBC beer changes from time to time, and my favorite recently switched from Tubular to Friend of Acadia. Honestly, I have been absolutely loving their Wild Maine Seltzers! They are all natural, made with Maine water and are wildly refreshing.” 

(Speaking as a fan of OBC’s brews, that is an excellent answer.)

It will be interesting to see how the NIL situation develops at the University of Maine. Scribner’s not alone; a handful of other athletes across a number of sports have also begun the process of developing their own deals with local businesses. While Black Bear athletes likely won’t see the same level of lucrative partnerships that are found on an Alabama football field or a Kentucky basketball court, the truth is that any little bit helps. These kids work hard – it’s about time they saw some additional rewards for those efforts.

In short, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Last modified on Friday, 03 September 2021 14:54

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