For the past three seasons, Penn State, with good reason, bucked tradition and put players' last names on the backs of the classic blue-and-white football jerseys.
Well, tradition is coming back.
Penn State announced Thursday that there will be no names on the backs of jerseys in 2015 and beyond.
The reason the names were there in the first place was thanks to former head coach Bill O'Brien, who wanted to recognize and honor the players who stuck with the program during the Jerry Sandusky scandal during the 2012 season. With many of those players on the team the past two seasons, as well, the names stuck.
But now current head coach James Franklin, who's entering his second season with the Nittany Lions, is restoring the nameless look, which Penn State boasted for well more than a century.
"For 125 years Penn State proudly followed a very simple idea: 'Black Shoes. Basic Blues. No Names. All Game,'" Franklin said in a statement. "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. We are a strong family, playing for one goal, one university, and there is only one name that truly matters, Penn State."
While perhaps inconsequential to some, Penn State fans are pretty serious about how the Lions look on the field. Tradition has an odd place in college football, sometimes honored to great extents and other times thrown out the window. The Penn State uniforms and fans' feelings about them certainly fall into the former category. Surely, Franklin will be cheered extensively for this decision.