In a show of solidarity with the alleged victims in Penn State's child sexual abuse case and that embattled university's coaches, athletes and fans, Ohio State's Buckeyes have been instructed to display an added level of good sportsmanship during today's match-up against the Nittany Lions.
They also were encouraged to replace their Facebook profile photos with a blue-ribboned graphic promoting child-abuse prevention, Columbus, Ohio's The Other Paper reported.
The out-of-towner is Penn State's first away game since former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's arrests on allegations that he sexually abuse eight boys over a period of 15 years and the attendant firing of legendary head coach Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier, former Penn State president, for not immediately contacting police when the alleged molestation was brought to their attention.
"Be respectful to our guests from Penn State ... Go Bucks," say several Ohio State athletes in a YouTube video highlighting a partly student-led hospitality campaign that includes what, according to The Associated Press, is heightened security for Penn State's coaches and players.
"We have adjusted our security plan for this Penn State game to specifically watch over and assist the Penn State football travel party from their arrival and departure in and out of Columbus," Ohio State associate athletic director Ben Jay told the AP.
"We have been in communication with Penn State officials this week and they have made arrangements for additional security at their team hotel," he said. "Although we would prefer not to detail what changes we have made, I can tell you that we will redirect our police coverage for their coaches, players and visiting fans to observe any potential trouble before and after the game."
Stadium ushers also were advised to be especially accommodating in their treatment of Penn State fans, the AP reported.
The game is also the first since Paterno, who had coached the Nittany Lions for 46 years before his dismissal, was diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer after a follow up visit for his bronchial illness last weekend.
Interim head coach Tom Bradley said he talked with his players and staff about the new blow to the program.
"I told them the truth," he said. "I told them coach, coach was diagnosed with treatable lung cancer and they, you know most of them are kids, they already know, we get off the plane, I want to make sure they heard it from me that you know what was going on and how saddened all of us were and to keep him in your prayers."