This article appeared in the Fresh Start issue of the Collegian, sent to new Penn State students.
That’s all it took for more than 16,100 student football tickets to sell out.
On Sept. 1, more than 106,000 Penn State faithful will pack the stands of Beaver Stadium to watch the Nittany Lions take on the Bobcats of Ohio Universtiy and Bill O’Brien take the field as head coach for the first time.
On July 23, Penn State was hit with arguably the hardest sanctions ever levied by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, but that did not seem to hinder the support of the Penn State community.
“For all those kids who are playing sports at Penn State, it is our job as alumni to support the team and show that there is a loving Penn State community backing them,” Michael Smoyer, Class of 1984, said.
The NCAA has hit Penn State with a $60 million fine, a four-year football postseason ban, a vacation of all wins from 1998-2011 and a reduction in scholarships.
“I never came to Penn State because of the football team. I will support the team whether they go 11-1, 4-7 or 2-9. I love going up to Penn State and going to the games, but it’s not for the winning or the bowl games,” Smoyer said.
According to the Penn State Athletic Department, more than 3,400 new season tickets have been sold for the 2012 season, more than doubling last season’s season ticket count.
About 94 percent of 2011 Nittany Lion season ticket holders have renewed their seats for the coming season. Penn State annually has one of the nation's largest season ticket bases, which includes 21,000 full season student tickets that have since been sold out.
“Regardless of how good they might be, I am still going to support the team that represents my school. I am really excited that I was able to get season tickets before they were sold out,” Tyler Wellman (freshman-business) said. “Having a new coach will start a new era in Penn State football and O’Brien seems to have a lot offer and I think that he will help lessen the effects of the sanctions by bringing in top recruits and taking the players to the next level.”
More than 30 current players have taken the vow to stay with Penn State through the sanctions.
Seniors Michael Mauti and Michael Zordich have been the most public about their commitment to Penn State, pledging to restore Penn State to greatness. Starting quarterback Matt McGloin took to Twitter, saying “I am a Nittany Lion and I will remain one.”