With a new era coming for Penn State, the Nittany Lions will have new uniforms to go with it this season.
The two changes announced by the school will be for symbolic reasons moreso than aesthetic ones.
For the first time in program history, Penn State players will have names on the backs of their jerseys. The new uniforms will also sport a blue ribbon in support of victims of child abuse.
The alterations are not necessarily permanent. A Penn State spokesman said that there have not been any discussions about the uniforms for beyond the 2012 season.
Coach Bill O‚??Brien had hinted that some sort of change to the iconic kits was in the making following the announcement of NCAA sanctions against the program.
After the Lions‚?? first preseason practice on Monday, O‚??Brien said the issue was still being discussed. On Tuesday, the school announced the changes, which were decided upon after getting input from players.
Nameplates represent a significant departure from Penn State‚??s past, with the program often trumpeting the fact that no names emphasized the team over the individual.
But with nine players having transferred in the wake of the sanctions, O‚??Brien said he wanted to honor those that decided to stay.
"We want our fans to know and recognize these young men," O‚??Brien said in a statement. "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 blue ribbons have become a fixture around Penn State‚??s campus since November following the arrest of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who has since been convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse of children.
"The Penn State community stands with all victims of child abuse," acting athletic director Dave Joyner said in a statement. "(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."
"I‚??m proud that our players want to be part of the university‚??s efforts to help victims of child abuse," O‚??Brien said. "We hope our fans join us in wearing blue ribbons to all Penn State home games. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children everywhere."