One of the most well-known traditions in college football history will end this season when Penn State's basic blue and white uniforms will, for the first time ever, include the players' names on the back of the jerseys.
New coach Bill O'Brien wants the players who have stuck it out through all the adversity of the Jerry Sandusky scandal to be recognized for their loyalty and commitment to the Nittany Lion program.
"We want our fans to know and recognize these young men," O'Brien said in a university statement Tuesday. "They have stuck together during tough times, and I commend them for the leadership they have shown."
The Penn State uniforms will feature another change -- the addition of a blue ribbon to represent support for victims of child abuse.
It's unclear if the changes will be permanent or just in effect this year. A Penn State spokesman told the Mirror on Tuesday that "there haven't been any discussions about the uniform beyond this season."
O'Brien made it clear during his news conference after getting the job in January that he would not be changing the iconic blue and white uniforms that for decades has symbolized Penn State's commitment to a team-first mentality. He repeated that stance many times in the ensuing months.
After the NCAA sanctions came down, however, word broke that O'Brien had been having discussions with Nike about the uniforms and the possibility of adding names. Asked why on July 26, he said, "I reserve the right to change my mind."
"Moving forward, I'm deeply committed to honoring Penn State's traditions, while building a bright future for our football program," the coach said in the statement Tuesday.
O'Brien addressed the issue further in a video interview with gopsusports.com.
"There were a few reasons why it was important," he said of the uniform changes. "Number one is, I want people to really recognize the players that have committed to us, that have stuck with this football program, but also our players that are going to be very involved with the new era of Penn State football.
"Turning the page, but also recognizing the fact of why we're in the position we're in and being involved in the community and all the things these players are going to do."
O'Brien also said the players were "enthused" about having their names on the uniforms.
"They understood the reason why, and we had a lot of communication on it," the coach said. "And at the end of the day, we felt good about the decision."
The other change to the uniform is the addition of the blue ribbon, which since 1989 has been a symbol of support for child abuse victims.
Athletic director Dave Joyner said in the university statement that "the Penn State community stands with all victims of child abuse. Coach Bill 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."
O'Brien spoke several times Monday about how helping children will be a focus of the football program going forward.
"I'm proud that our players want to be part of the university's efforts to help victims of child abuse," O'Brien said in the statement. "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."