Pennsylvania State University’s football team uniforms will feature players’ names on the back this season for the first time.
Coach Bill O’Brien said the decision was made in conjunction with players who decided to remain at the school after it was punished by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for trying to cover up child sexual abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Penn State has had players, including starting running back Silas Redd, transfer to other schools after being hit with the NCAA penalties and O’Brien said having names on the jerseys is a way to honor those who have stayed with the team.
“They have stuck together during tough times and I commend them for the leadership they have shown,” O’Brien said in a statement on the school’s website yesterday. “I’m deeply committed to honoring Penn State’s traditions, while building a bright future for our football program.”
The NCAA sanctions include a four-year bowl ban. The school also lost 20 scholarships annually for the next four years.
Penn State’s traditional blue and white uniform will also feature a blue ribbon to support all victims of child abuse, the school said.
Joe Paterno was fired after 46 years as coach for what school trustees said was his role in the cover-up. O’Brien, the former offensive coordinator for the National Football League’s New England Patriots, was hired in January.
The Nittany Lions began practice yesterday in preparation for their Sept. 1 season opener at home against Ohio University.