PITTSBURGH — With the name, image and likeness (NIL) rule being passed by the NCAA in July, instead of trying to profit or promote himself, Pitt fifth-year long snapper Cal Adomitis decided to give back.
On Oct. 7, Adomitis announced his “Cal Kids” fundraiser with a goal to raise $94,000 for UPMC’s Children’s Hospital. Adomitis wears No. 94. Two months later, Adomitis surpassed that figure and raised over $115,000.
Adomitis has kept his hair long since graduating from Pittsburgh Central Catholic in 2017, so to show support for children with cancer, Adomitis said he would shave his head following Pitt’s season. On Friday afternoon at the PNC Champions Club at Heinz Field, surrounded by his family, teammates, and five children from UPMC Children’s Hospital, Adomitis got his head shaved by Sports Clips, along with help from the kids, Pat Narduzzi and his mom Katherine.
Prior to Adomitis getting his long curly hair clipped, Narduzzi declared the kids as official members of the team, as they signed their letter of intent. After a pep talk from Narduzzi, Larry Richert individually announced each kid’s name as they ran out of the tunnel with Pitt cheerleaders on each side cheering them on.
Narduzzi said Adomitis had a profound impact on the Pitt program and was proud of him for making a difference in the community. He also praised Adomitis’ parents for the great job they did in raising him.
“The commitment you’ve made to the city of Pittsburgh, to Children’s Hospital, it’s incredible,” Narduzzi said of Adomitis. “It’s nothing we had a conversation about like, ‘Cal, you should do this. Hey, you should do that.’ This is all by himself. This is him thinking about how can I impact the community. One of our program goals is to impact the community and give back. And this is just an unbelievable opportunity that he’s taken. And it’s a lesson for all the rest of our guys.”
Adomitis expressed thankfulness to the city of Pittsburgh, his teammates and family for all the support.
“I just wanted to thank everyone for being a part of this,” Adomitis said. “Thank you to my teammates, family and Coach Narduzzi. It’s just been unbelievable the love and excitement that the city of Pittsburgh has brought to this. Just an honor to be a part of this and thank you all for being here. Hail to Pitt.”
Adomitis said the idea to cut his hair to raise money for a cause developed during his freshman year when his roommates Owen Drexel, Carter Warren and Grant Carrigan messed around with him about how much money would it take to cut his hair. And then with the NIL rule being passed this summer, Adomitis came back around to it and realized how much of an impact he can make. Prior to the NIL rule, the NCAA didn’t allow players to do fundraisers.
Adomitis credited Kenny Pickett for leading the charge in regards to using the NIL rule properly.
“I give Kenny a ton of credit because he led the way by showing us that we’re going to use this NIL as something that brings us closer as a team, as opposed to guys looking at each other like jealous of things that they have. We all just knew that this would be something that could be fun for us if we did it the right way.”
The time being around the kids from Children’s Hospital has had a deep impact on Adomitis.
“It just makes you so grateful for everything. For all your blessings,” Adomitis said. “It makes you realize that nothing’s guaranteed. Every day is a blessing. The opportunities I’ve had here at the University of Pittsburgh and my whole life, not everyone gets those opportunities off the bat that I got. That’s really been a massive realization from getting to know some of the kids at Children’s.”
Adomitis will travel to Chicago on Saturday morning, as he’s a finalist for the Patrick Mannelly award, which is given for the nation’s best long snapper. He will also be at the Senior Bowl in February. Adomitis believes he has what it takes to play in the NFL.
“I know I can play at the next level,” Adomitis said. “I just have to continue showing that I’m capable. I’ll get my chance and I just got to make the most of it when it comes my way. Just excited for it. Excited to finish the season with the Peach Bowl too and get one more game with the blue and gold.”
Pitt faces Michigan State in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. Adomitis won’t have his long hair flowing from his helmet for the game, as he’s now bald.
“I haven’t decided whether immediately I’ll go right back to the long hair, but I do like having a little bit of hair on my head,” Adomitis said. “I’m sure it will be back at some point.”