Penn State

Penn State asks fans not to riot over Big Ten championship game

Penn State really appreciates the enthusiasm of the fans, but is not thrilled about destructive celebration.

The administration made that clear with a letter to fans asking to keep things in check on Saturday.

“Penn State fans are among the most enthusiastic and loyal in the country. And as our team takes the field on national television this Saturday, we encourage everyone to show their support and enthusiasm in a responsible way,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims and Assistant Vice President for University Police and Public Safety Charlie Noffsinger in a letter published by the university Thursday. “All of us have reason to be pleased by this team's success. We have cause for celebration, and Saturday may provide us even more cause.”

The No. 7 Nittany Lions will be on the gridiron at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, facing off with the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers for the Big Ten Championship.

The game will take place at 8 p.m., just like the Ohio State game at Beaver Stadium in October. That unexpected victory over the No. 2 Buckeyes propelled Penn State up the College Football Playoff rankings and positioned the team for its championship possibilities.

It also was followed by a raucous celebration through the State College downtown that ended with 13 people being changed with rioting. Five of them waived their preliminary hearings on felony charges this weekend. Damages from the spree topped $30,000.

“A cause for celebration never justifies harm to safety or public property, and the University will always take strong action against those who cause such harm. Let's enjoy Saturday's game, and let's do our best to encourage a win through our positive support of the team. But let's also be mindful of the commitment that all Penn Staters have to the well being and success of one another, this beautiful campus and the special community that surrounds it,” the university’s letter cautioned.

If the Nittany Lions win in Indianapolis, the team still moves on to more prime post-season play, including the possibility of the Rose Bowl or the College Football Playoffs, making impromptu after-game celebrations likely.

“But if Penn State wins this important game, let's not spoil the accomplishment by failing to respect our campus and the broader community. The victory over Ohio State earlier this year was needlessly tarnished by the mayhem that followed,” Simms and Noffsinger wrote.