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Cutouts find way into Beaver Stadium

The Associated Press A stadium worker places cutouts in the stands at Friday night’s Minnesota-Maryland game.

UNIVERSITY PARK — Joe DiPietro came across a German soccer team filling its stands with cardboard cutouts of fans back in June, and thought, “It seemed like a fun idea, let’s test the waters.”

Six months later, he feels grateful and inspired by the idea.

DiPietro is a founder of Fancutouts.com — a tech company partnering with universities to provide fans the opportunity to upload a photo and purchase a cutout to be placed in the stands of their favorite sports teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He shared details on how he and his team are laying out the process at Penn State with the 2020 season now in action.

According to DiPietro, just follow the rules.

That is, uploading a picture to the website that fits the criteria, entering a code at checkout, and the cutouts are likely to be placed in Beaver Stadium together.

The company has sold several thousand with each one costing between $65 and $85. Part of the proceeds will benefit THON. Information on how to purchase can be found at www.gopsusports/cutouts.

“We do our best to keep certain cutouts together like the band members and families, and we can’t guarantee you will make it on TV, but the more fun and interesting it is of a picture, the team is going to highlight those and share it out on social media possibly,” DiPietro said.

Dr. Mauer Biscotti, Penn State alumna and season ticket holder, knew this was a perfect opportunity for his family and granddaughters, Amelia (3) and Scarlet (1), so he made his purchase of cutouts prior to Saturday’s kickoff.

“In a perfect world, I would rather be there, but anything related to Penn State I try to be a part of, especially when it benefits THON and other charities,” Bisicotti said. “It’s about the student-athletes and also the children. How do you say no to something like that?”

Beginning Saturday, the cutouts will make their first appearance in Beaver Stadium for the primetime Halloween matchup against No. 3 Ohio State, and DiPietro explained there’s a deeper, more personal connection behind many of them being purchased.

“We ask fans why they are purchasing the product on the website and there has been a surprising thing for us where a lot of the cutouts are held in memorial of a loved one, where they can be in the stadium with each other again,” DiPietro said. “It’s a very touching piece of this we didn’t know was going to happen.”

DiPietro is actually an Ohio State graduate, something he’s had fun with this weekend.

“Now that I have all of these Big Ten clients, I am fans of them except for when they play Ohio State,” he said, laughing. “I love the rivalries that are there, and I don’t hide the fact that I am an Ohio State grad, but it keeps the fun competition. It brings back a ton of memories, and it’s fun to be a part of that collegiate experience again.”

Biscotti is proud to be part of the effort.

“It says a lot about what we stand for,” he said. “I think Penn State has had to make a lot of difficult decisions, including no fans. But it’s for the right reasons, and something like this makes a difference.”

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