Penn State Removing Names From Jerseys

The Nittany Lions are going back to the traditional unadorned look they sported before NCAA sanction hit.

Penn State linebacker Nyeem Wartman was talking about changing his last name to Wartman-White recently, and joked that the biggest issue could be whether it all would fit on the back of his jersey.

“Can they give me a smaller font?” he said.

As it turns out, that won't be a problem at all. Thursday morning, Penn State announced that player names are coming off the backs of the Nittany Lions' jerseys.

Former coach Bill O'Brien added the names to the long-unadorned uniforms in 2012, to honor the players who stuck with the program after NCAA sanctions stemming from the Sandusky scandal hit. But now all of the sanctions have been dropped or expired. So the names are going.

“For 125 years, Penn State proudly followed a very simple idea: 'Black Shoes. Basic Blues. No Names. All Game,” second-year coach James Franklin said. “In 2012, for the first time in the program's history, names adorned the back of the jersey to forever identify the men who stayed loyal, sacrificed and chose to play for this institution during the most difficult of times. The 2012 team, permanently recognized in Beaver Stadium, will hold an enduring place in our program's history. Their commitment will never be forgotten.

“However, it's time we bring back the tradition that represented Penn State for 125 years,” he added. “We are a strong family, playing for one goal, one university and there is only one name that truly matters, Penn State.”

At the end of the 2012 season, that year was added to the ring of honor at Beaver Stadium, along with years where the Lions won Big Ten or national championships.

Current players were told the names were coming off the jerseys during a morning squad meeting, where several former Nittany Lions discussed what the traditional uniforms meant to them. Included were former All-Americans Jack Ham and Kenny Jackson, as well as current PSU assistant Terry Smith.

Penn State center/guard Angelo Mangiro, one of the few fifth-year seniors on this team, took to TwitLonger to applaud the move. Here is what he said:

“I am truly honored to play for Penn State and wear the Blue and White. In 2011, my first season in Happy Valley, it was a season the nation will never forget. The players and staff on that team could have easily been crushed by the immense pressure surrounding the program; however, we didn't because of the logo on the front of the jersey. We played for that logo, each other, and the former players. When Coach O'Brien came and put names on the uniforms to honor the players that stayed; I was extremely moved. I understood the history that surrounded our program and the basic whites and blues. I was thankful for Coach O'Brien to make that tough decision, and I felt that it was very appropriate at that time. But, that was then and this is now. We honored those who have stayed. There are only six of us left (Ben Kline, Kyle Carter, Matt Zanellato, Anthony Zettel, Carl Nassib, and myself). We have had our time to be honored. I felt the name on the back of my jersey was to honor the players and for my mother in the stands but, I have always played for the logo on the front. My mother doesn't need to see a name to pick me out on the field. She could spot me out of a crowd of a 107,000 easily. With Coach Franklin, it is time for us to get back to our traditions and put everything behind us. We play for each other, former letterman, our family's, for Thon and the Four Diamonds, our fans, and for this amazing university. Black Shoes...Basic Blues...No Names...All Game. WE ARE...PENN STATE!”

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