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Penn State's 2011 Uniforms

Confirming an item from a bit less than two weeks ago, Penn State announced today that they will be updating their uniforms for this coming football season. As detailed by their athletic department, the changes are minor, but notable, if only due to the relative consistency of their uniform. Most prominently, last names will be added to the jerseys for the first time in school history. Head coach Bill O'Brien and "some" members of the team made this decision with the goal of "[wanting] our fans to know and recognize these young men… They have stuck together during tough times, and I commend them for the leadership they have shown."

Additionally, they will be wearing blue ribbons "to support all victims of child abuse."

The addition of the ribbon presents a bit of a philosophical challenge; it serves as a "scarlet" letter of sorts, but, unfortunately it will be worn by current players, none of whom bear responsibility for the reason the ribbon itself will be adorning the uniforms. Also adding the ribbon is much easier than taking it off. When will be the right time to remove it? After the bowl ban ends? When the scholarship reduction is over? When Spanier, etc.'s trials are over? The question as to when to remove it is fundamentally rhetorical, but expect it to come up (admittedly, on outlets like this one) when that day comes. In terms of the "right answer" for the question, it's undoubtedly "in the off-season and with minimal comment at most."

Also, on a philosophical bent, the ribbons have been added to show solidarity, while the names on the back have been added so individual players can be 'known and recognized.' As previously stated, for any football-related decision which touches on the "Sandusky era," (even the uniforms) PSU is stuck without a universally "right" course of action, and, really, both additions to the uniforms are "right" enough. All-in-all, another strong move by O'Brien.