Longtime Penn State football fans may be surprised to learn that the team's uniforms will soon be getting an update for the first time in "roughly 60 years," the university announced in a press release on Tuesday.
Penn State, which was pivoted into the national spotlight last year in the wake of the Sandusky sex scandal, will be honoring the victims of child abuse worldwide by incorporating a blue ribbon into their new uniforms. Penn State Athletic Director David Joyner said in a release Tuesday that, "The Penn State community stands with all victims of child abuse. Coach Bill O'Brien and his football team made it clear they want to support victims and bring more awareness to this issue, which affects so many."
But that's not all: the updated version will also include players' names on the backs of their jerseys for the first time, ever.
The Penn State release described the decision to add players' names as an effort to show their solidarity with Penn State, and honor the values of the school's legacy. "Coach O'Brien says after speaking with some members of the team, they made the decision together to add names to the uniforms. Players indicated the names on their jerseys also mean they will hold each other accountable to uphold the traditions of Penn State football, both on and off the field."
"We want our fans to know and recognize these young men," O'Brien said. "They have stuck together during tough times, and I commend them for the leadership they have shown. Moving forward, I'm deeply committed to honoring Penn State's traditions, while building a bright future for our football program."
The traditional plain, unadorned Penn State uniforms have long been considered a hallmark of the team, and were even looked upon something of a fashion icon in the sports world. For that reason, along with Paterno's famous hatred of displaying names on uniforms, O'Brien had previously said that he had no plans to change the uniforms. However, O'Brien came to his decision came after speaking with his players, he said.
"At the end of the day, to me going into this year, the most important patch on the uniform is the blue patch and blue ribbon that will signify putting an end to child abuse," O'Brien said. "To me, that is the most important patch on the uniform or wherever we're going to put it."
The university has also been taking other measures to move on from the scandal in recent weeks, including removing a statue of late coach Joe Paterno from their Beaver Stadium.