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Hail! Impact Adds Shelly Kovacs to Board; Increases Development Efforts as it Expands Transformative NIL Program to Multiple Sports

Hail! Impact, Inc.
Hail! Impact, Inc.
  • Kovacs brings three decades of experience in higher educational administration and fundraising culminating in the Kinesiology Distinguished Service Award from the University of Michigan for her commitment to college students, athletes and alumni

  • Hail! NIL Program augments fundraising efforts throughout summer

  • Charitable and educational program expands beyond Michigan Football to include multiple men’s and women’s sports

  • Launches Player Advisory Group as dedicated resource to student athletes

ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --  Hail! Impact, a nonprofit corporation focused on accelerating name, image and likeness (NIL) for student athletes at the University of Michigan through transformational community impact, announced today the addition of Ms. Shelly Kovacs to its Board of Directors. Ms. Kovacs joins Hail! Impact after a distinguished career serving the University of Michigan and its students. She began her career in 1977 as a college advisor with the School of Education before joining the School of Kinesiology in 1984 where she continued her passion advising students, eventually becoming the Director of Student Services while taking on additional roles in development, including serving as Kinesiology’s first Director of Major Gifts and its first Director of Alumni Relations. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her many contributions to the University of Michigan including being one of a handful of women to receive an Honorary “M” Letter for her contributions to student athletes including the implementation of key initiatives supporting academic development and degree completion. The Shelly Kovacs Endowed Scholarship was created by UofM alumni in 2007 to honor her extraordinary accomplishments and thirty years of service to Michigan. The Kinesiology Distinguished Service Award followed in 2016 as a tribute to her past and ongoing commitment to college students, athletes and alumni. Ms. Kovacs joins Co-Founders Andrew Johnson and Chin Weerappuli and fellow director Michael Leach on Hail! Impact’s Board.

Mr. Johnson, Chairman of the Board, commented, “We are extremely honored to add Shelly Kovacs to the Hail! Impact Board of Directors. Her deep and diverse experience with the University of Michigan and its multitude of constituents and her expertise in providing and facilitating transformational growth opportunities for student athletes is simply unparalleled. Shelly’s partnership with our growing Team and leadership in creating the Hail! NIL Program as a truly differentiated approach from all other NIL efforts across the country, built on meaningful charitable service and world-class educational engagements, is a game changer for Hail! Impact, our qualified nonprofit partners, our distinguished faculty advisors and industry experts and the incredible student athletes we serve.” Regarding her appointment to the Board, Ms. Kovacs commented, “Hail! Impact’s commitment to benefiting student athletes at the University of Michigan through service and education is at the core of the mission I’ve pursued throughout my career in higher education. Together, we have the opportunity to create a NIL program unlike anything that currently exists, built on the common values that bind Michigan students, alumni and supporters in our devotion to this university. I am excited to work with the entire Hail! Impact ecosystem to build and foster relationships that will facilitate growth and success for all involved.”

Concurrent with the addition of Ms. Kovacs to its leadership team, Hail! Impact announced its increased focus on development and fundraising efforts in support of its Hail! NIL Program. President Chin Weerappuli will present to supporters throughout the summer of 2023 on the novel approach to name, image, and likeness embodied by the Hail! NIL Program in an effort to reach its target of $5 million raised before Labor Day. Mr. Weerappuli commented, “I look forward to the opportunity to meet with supporters of UofM athletics across the country to share our vision and plan for how name, image and likeness can provide transformational opportunities for Michigan student athletes through community engagement and enhanced education. Hail! Impact proudly partners with six charitable organizations with incredible critical missions including Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor, ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation, Ele’s Place, Hope Clinic, Humane Society of Huron Valley and Peace Neighborhood Center. Our “Leaders and Best” seminar series is presented by renown educators from the University of Michigan schools of business, law and kinesiology, creating Hail! Impact as a NIL program built on service and education with transparency as a guiding principle in providing 90% of all donations to our participating student athletes and nonprofit partners.”

Beyond supporting Michigan Football, Hail! Impact announced that it plans to launch similar programs in the coming weeks with multiple men’s and women’s varsity sports teams at the University of Michigan. Each team will tailor its objectives and programming to meet its unique needs in partnership with the Hail! Impact operations team. Donors can now support NIL for any varsity sport on the Hail! Impact website and all amounts raised will be allocated to support the designated sport upon commencement of its specific program. Mr. Weerappuli added, “I’ve spoken to well over ten varsity coaches across men’s and women’s sports at Michigan with several more planned in the coming days. The enthusiasm by these coaches to provide the opportunity for their players to participate in the charitable and educational components of the Hail! NIL Program is incredible. Our platform was built to be scalable across sports and we are proud to bring this opportunity to earn a meaningful stipend through community engagement and educational enrichment to as many student athletes as possible across UofM athletics.”

Hail! Impact is working with Michigan Women’s Gymnastics to launch the Hail! NIL Program for the Big Ten Champions. Coach Bev Plocki commented, “I am very excited to have the Women’s Gymnastics program working with Hail! Impact. They provide our athletes with valuable educational opportunities as well as amazing community services experiences. The NIL world is moving forward and changing every day and I am thrilled to have Chin Weerappuli and his partners guiding us through these waters. With their expertise, I am confident Michigan will become leaders and best in the NIL world.”

As the Hail! NIL Program ramps up for multiple sports, Hail! Impact announced the creation of a Player Advisory Group (PAG) consisting of former University of Michigan varsity athletes with a passion for its charitable and educational mission and commitment to providing valuable inputs to the Hail! Impact leadership team in setting strategic direction and programming and serving as a dedicated resource to student athletes participating in the program as they prepare for the transition from the University of Michigan to their careers. Inaugural PAG members include Drew Henson, Football 1998-2000, Sean Ritchlin, Hockey 1995-1999 and Jarrett Irons, Football 1993-1996. Commenting on his involvement, Mr. Irons noted, “My passion for the University of Michigan and its student athletes runs deep. As a two-time captain on the football team, I fully understand the commitment it takes to balance the demands placed on student athletes performing on the biggest stage. Hail! Impact offers an incredible opportunity for student athletes to grow as individuals, augment their experience and skills outside of sports and importantly, monetize their name, image and likeness in this new age of NIL. I personally look forward to contributing to the program’s focus on behavioral health and life after sports.”

About Hail! Impact
Hail! Impact, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Michigan. Hail! Impact’s mission is to accelerate name, image and likeness (NIL) at the University of Michigan through transformational community impact. Hail! Impact’s application for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is pending. The Hail! NIL Program currently benefits student athletes on the University of Michigan football team with plans to launch tailored programs for multiple men’s and women’s sports. Participating student athletes earn an equal stipend based on use of their NIL and completion of the program’s charitable and educational requirements. Donors may choose to support NIL for any of the varsity sports at the University of Michigan through Hail! Impact.

For more information or to donate, visit

Chin Weerappuli, President