Next Potential Casualty of Sandusky Scandal: Penn State Football Uniforms

First went the statue of the emperor, next comes his clothes?

As enduring an image of the university as Joe Paterno himself, Penn State is actively considering an update to their (seemingly) old-as-time-itself football uniforms in the interest of distancing itself from not just the "Sandusky era," but the decades of Joe Paterno as well. As reported by the Reading Eagles' Rich Scarcella, a conference call between O'Brien and a group of "football parents" took place the night of Tuesday, July 24. The discussion touched on topics generally related to the concerns parents would have for their athlete-students student-athletes (player safety, O'Brien's commitment to PSU, etc.), but the new Head Coach did mention there were discussions about updating the Penn State uniform, itself a tradition:

O'Brien also told the parents that he has talked to Nike about changing Penn State's plain blue and white uniforms, a staple of the program for decades under former coach Joe Paterno. He also said he's looking to put names on the back of the jerseys.


Some items to point out: this section of the article is written as a summary, not as quotes. Notably, other (realistically, more important) topics include actual quotes from Scarcella's source who attended the call. It's plausible to assume that the only change discussed was the adding of names to the back of the uniform, and that the source (and so Carcella) incorrectly interpreted the "has talked to Nike" as something separate from the names. But… the stitching of names onto jerseys generally isn't done by the uniform supplier itself; instead teams' equipment managers or unaffiliated local shops do this work. O'Brien probably knows this, so let's call this story legit (legit that they're reviewing changing the uniforms, not that that means they'll actually end up doing it.)

Quick Analysis: They're really in a damned if they do, damned if they don't situation. If they keep the current uniform, they're effectively wearing a Navy and Blue (Scarlet) Letter every time they take the field and it's just "for Penn State, it's still business as usual." If they scrap (or fundamentally modify) their current uniforms, it appears reactive, as if Penn State really isn't bigger than its "Institutional Failure" of the last 15 years. As to adding player names to the jerseys? Cynically, that seems like it could an effort to be more in-tune with the supposed "look at me" generation of recruits, and this makes them more easily identified (and marketed) to the NFL. I don't buy this completely, being that sports, even the NCAA, has had "showboats" out there well before the last ten years or so, and this supposed "Golden Age of College Sports" where it was devoid of such characters never really existed, anyway.

The uniform "corner" of the internet has been abuzz about the concept of a change happening for a few weeks, and the consensus was generally to keep the current uniforms as-is, but change the helmet from white with a blue stripe to blue with a white stripe. Subtle, yet still completely obvious. "We've changed, but but we're still the same." (or some other hokey-sounding but genuinely heartfelt marketing slogan).

Finally, let me point out that Penn State's Uniforms haven't been completely immutable. Just last year they got rid of the contrasting collar and sleeve details. Of course, that was to make the uniforms look more, well, "traditional," but small (read: tiny) changes have occurred.

Source: Reading Eagle via ESPN


23 Responses

  1. Didn’t they change the uniforms last year? Added a blue stripe on the sleeves and neck on the white jersey and the opposite on the blue? Maybe not.

  2. That would suck. they are the best uniforms in college football. If they change the uniforms, that means Jer won

  3. I love how PSU always said they were “Old school” in their uniforms. Exxxxxcept for the whole Nike swoop thing.
    sell out frauds

  4. Re: Obrien’s commitment to PSU – Heard this morning that his contract has a clause that he gets an automatic extension of a year for each year they were banned from post-season play. So he’s already locked in for 4. pretty smart

  5. O’Brien said that names on the back would show the world who stayed and is committed to PSU.

  6. @Matt T: Any source or link for that? The articles about this seem just to go back to the Reading Eagle piece which doesn’t touch on that (though it makes sense). I’ll definitely update the article if there’s a source out there.

  7. The school, uniforms, colors, and EVERYTHING else will forever be associated with what happened. FOREVER. It doesn’t matter what you change.
    Personally I think the uniforms are cool. Old school. I like em. But like the post said… they are fucked no matter what they do.

  8. Maybe they could add blue pants to wear for away games with the white jerseys. Maybe put numbers on the helmets. Other than that, I do not want to see drastic changes.

  9. Change the uniforms all you want.
    PSU is Pedo State University now and forever thanks to that sick piece of shit.

  10. @Dan …. I saw it on twitter — possibly from Joe Shad??
    I’ll look for it tomorrow

  11. Maybe they can get the new uniforms from Ted’s College Uniform Emporium.

  12. With a 4 year bowl ban, one of the biggest ways to attract recruits is to promise them the opportunity to showcase themselves for the NFL. Adding names to the back of the jerseys would make players more marketable.
    The whole “playing for the front of the jersey” idea doesn’t have the same effect when you’re not able to play in any kind of post-season.

  13. i disagree with the marketable idea. I think if you have the NFLs attention they will know who they are looking at whether you have a name on your jersey or not….Also, i think “playing for the front of the jersey” is pertinent now more then ever, many of the players are presenting a unified front which adding names would diminish

  14. Joe Pa & Sandusky were molesting kids fr years, they should change the uniforms.
    They should also knock down those showers Sandusky fucked those kids in, grosses me out even thinking of those showers

  15. Wholesale changes to the uniform would be an awful idea. Penn State is widely recognized as having some of the best uniforms in all of sports. Changin them would likely make them go from classic to instantly dated.
    The names on the back of the jerseys is another terrible idea. Not even USC has names on the back of their jerseys.

  16. How does anyone think that changing the jerseys will help the football players or this damaged university? You cannot put shit in a newly wrapped package with a name on it and expect it not to smell like shit.

  17. How is all of this going on and the only thing that caught my eye and my interest at this point in the whole fucking mess is that @ROCK thinks it’s called a Nike “swoop”?
    HOW…HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!? IM SO ANGRY AT HIM, who I hope is a her for making that mistake.

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