The Penn State Nittany Lions kicked off their 2012 season on Saturday against the Ohio Bobcats and it was the first game the team has played since the scandal that rocked the university. More than 80,000 fans chanted the Nittany Lions motto “We are Penn State!” as the team took the field.
This was the first Penn State home opener without Joe Paterno since 1949. The team was led by
new head coach Bill O’Brien, who comes over from the New England Patriots of the National Football League. O’Brien had been with the Patriots since 2007 and served as quarterbacks coach, as well as offensive coordinator since 2011.
Penn State also held a moment of reflection for all victims of sexual abuse prior to the opening kickoff. In addition, all 31 Nittany Lion athletic teams, which include more than 600 athletes, took to the field in a sign of unity as a part of Penn State’s “One Team” motto.
The players also wore uniforms today with their names on the back for the first time in the university’s history. O’Brien wanted to recognize the players who decided to stick with Penn State after the NCAA sanctions that were handed down in late July.
Penn State was ordered to pay a $60 million sanction, banned from post-season competition for four years, had all wins vacated dating back to 1998 and saw their scholarships reduced by 20 for each of the next four years. The Big 10 also stated that the Nittany Lions’ bowl proceeds over the next four years, which is estimated at around $13 million, will be donated to charitable organizations dedicated to the protection of children.