One of the most iconic football uniforms in college football is going to look a little different next season as the Penn State uniforms will no longer simply be the unadorned, navy blue-and-white classic look. The uniforms have been enduringly simple during a time of novelty and change amongst other schools designs but that will no longer be the case.
Penn State announced that, starting this season, the classic uniforms will now feature blue ribbons in honor of the child abuse victims in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and they will also sport player names on the back as part of the first uniform changes in over 60 years.
If any addition to the jerseys were to be made the blue ribbons are by far the most important. The school can use any good press that it can get at the moment and this would fit that description.
As far as the additions of player last names on the back of the jersey for the first time, that decision was made to honor the remaining players who have stuck it out during the tough times in State College and that have remained loyal to the program. Head coach Bill O’Brien spoke with his players about the decision to add their last names to the uniform and they decided to make the change as a team.
“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 players have indicated that the names on the back of the jersey will serve as contracts to uphold the traditions of Penn State football both on and off the field in order to hold each other accountable. The remaining players, as well as the incoming freshmen, will be looked at as leaders in the community now more than ever and O’Brien feels that they should be recognized for their perseverance.
The addition of the player names is sure to ruffle some feathers in the PSU community as some might feel that the new coaching staff is abandoning their tradition. However, with all that the school has gone through over the past months maybe subtle change like this can unite the community instead of riling it up.
Regardless, it’s a good move by the university to add the ribbons to the uniforms and it will be seen as a beacon of change in an otherwise dark age for Penn State football.