Fans should be enthusiastic and safe during primetime football clash with OSU

University Park, Pa. -- As the Penn State Nittany Lion football team prepares for its high-profile, prime time game with Big Ten border rival Ohio State on Oct. 8, the University is encouraging all fans to be enthusiastic -- but also to be safe and responsible.

The rare night game in Beaver Stadium between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes will kickoff at 7:45 p.m. and be televised nationally by ESPN.

"We're going to need our fans' energetic and enthusiastic support in what should be a great atmosphere for college football," said Timothy Curley, director of Intercollegiate Athletics. "But before, during, and after the game we want fans, visitors to the community and local residents to be safe."

"We don't want to see enthusiasm turn negative toward opposing teams' fans, or to become destructive in any way," Curley said. "That's not what Penn State football is all about, and only tarnishes the efforts of our student-athletes and the great reputation of the University."

For the past several seasons, University Police have stepped up their presence throughout the stands to help keep fans safe. There has been a significant decrease in spectator injuries as a result of some of these safety measures.

"With the assistance of other state and local law enforcement agencies, expanded police and safety initiatives will be in place throughout the parking lot during the day on Oct. 8 and after the game, and they will be in place around the community throughout the weekend," said Steve Shelow, director of University police.

Individuals observed engaging in dangerous or disruptive activity -- for example, throwing objects at people in the stadium, on the playing field or causing a disturbance -- will be subject to immediate removal from the stadium and criminal charges. Additionally, Penn State students will be referred to the University's Office of Judicial Affairs.

During some recent home games underage fans have been transported to Mount Nittany Medical Center before noon, long before kickoff. With such a late start time there is concern that dangerous drinking could occur during the day.

"We don't want to see students or visitors hurt," said Bill Mahon, assistant vice president of University Relations and co-chair of the Town-Gown Committee United Against Dangerous Drinking. "Having fun should not lead to the emergency room or being arrested by police at the scene of a disturbance."

"It's important for Penn State students and all fans to hold each other accountable for maintaining the standards of our community and for upholding our long-standing reputation as a civil and respectful student body," said Vicky Triponey, vice president for student affairs. "The Penn State alma mater implores 'May no act of ours bring shame.' We want our fans to be enthusiastic and supportive, but we also want them to be safe and courteous to those around them."

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Last Updated March 19, 2009