Anyway, truth of the matter is, something terrible happened. People who knew about it should have done more and now all of Penn State's reputation is marred because of the decisions of a few. But evil is everywhere. More importantly though, good is everywhere.
We traveled to Penn State this last weekend and played them in their first football game since news of the scandal spread throughout the nation. (If you don't know by now, I'm a huuuugee Husker football fan. That's one of the main reasons I chose to come to school here at UNL.) We ended up beating them 17-14, but that's not the important part. The important part is that, since that game, letters have been pouring in from all over the Nation from Penn State alumni and fans. Here are some of the ones which stood out to me the most:
To the administration, students, football players and entire University of Nebraska community:
In the midst of the darkest days in Pennsylvania State University history, two teams joined at the center of Beaver Stadium this past Saturday and knelt in prayer. Graciously led by Nebraska running back coach Ron Brown, this simple action of unity served as a beacon of light, a light which will hopefully grow and soon drive out the night enveloping the Penn State family.
Nebraska, you could have turned your backs. You could have opted to have nothing to do with Penn State other than the football game. Instead, you embraced your fellow student athletes, and in doing so, the entire Penn State Family, and said, "We stand with you."
For this — for your class, your friendship, your solidarity and your support — we thank you.
Though we are Penn State, we thank you for being the amazing community that you are, University of Nebraska.
Penn State alumnus, 2008
To the players, coaches and staff of the football team, and to the students, faculty, staff, administration and alumni of the University of Nebraska:
In 1983 I was an undergraduate at Penn State. You came to State College wearing red and white and filled with pride and a sense of camaraderie that those of us in big schools share. We were impressed by your sportsmanship, courtesy and anticipation for the game. We shared our tailgates with you before the game and couldn't believe how loudly you cheered despite being outnumbered eight to one. We won the game on a controversial call late in the 4th quarter. You held your heads high, rejoined us in our tailgates and started home on your long journey.
Today you came back to Penn State and, in possibly the finest display of sportsmanship I have ever seen, joined in solidarity with us in our moment of excruciating pain. You won today, but there were no losers on the field or in the stands. Those of us who love Penn State dearly will never forget you. Thank you for showing the world the finest qualities in human beings that sports have to offer.
Thank you, for everything.
Penn State, 1985
I would like to thank the Nebraska football team, coaches and fans for your support. The Penn State community has been rocked by the recent scandal and our students, alumni, faculty and staff are hurting. The kindness and support demonstrated by the Nebraska community at Saturday's game was heartwarming. Seeing both the Penn State and Nebraska football teams and coaching staffs drop to their knees in prayer before kick off is a sight I will never forget. As a fan, a parent and a Penn State faculty member, I was moved by your kindness. Thank you for helping us through this very dark time.
University Park, Pa.
This last week has been one of the most trying and difficult of the lives of many Penn State alumni, students and fans. It was some of ours' fear and understanding that we were going to be completely ostracized by the community outside of Happy Valley.
That was, until Saturday. Nebraska fans showed us nothing but support. I want to thank you for the class that was shown by your fans and players; it has meant more than you will ever know. Congratulations on your win, thank you for your support and welcome to the Big Ten.
Penn State Alumnus
State College, Pa.
As a Penn State alum, this week has been the most gut-wrenching, miserable week of my life. The fact that one of our own would commit the unspeakable is something I'd never have imagined just a week ago. To see our university leaders all fail to act appropriately when presented with the opportunity was another swift punch to the gut. Then, the reaction to the firing of coach Paterno by a small portion of our student body was yet another massive disappointment. But that is not Penn State. It will take many, many years for our school to regain our credibility, but in earnest, we will move forward.
I don't hesitate to speak for all of the 550,000 Penn State alumni in saying that we want justice for the victims; we want a complete and total airing of the truth, and we want anyone involved in failing to help those children to be furiously punished. Even if the facts ultimately point to a failure of our beloved coach Paterno, then so be it.
But I also want to thank Nebraska's fans and football team. I've always enjoyed when we've played Nebraska – your fans travel well, are great people to spend a weekend with and are total class acts. By coming to Happy Valley and playing a football game this weekend, you helped the healing process for so many Penn State fans who had absolutely nothing to do with this scandal. I'll always be a Nittany Lion, but from this day forward, I'm also a huge Husker fan. Thank you.
Penn State Alum `99
To the Nebraska community:
I am presently writing you as a lone individual – I do not now, nor will I ever pretend to, speak on behalf of the more than 40,000 Penn State University Park students, nor the nearly 100,000 members of our two dozen commonwealth campuses and assuredly not on behalf of the nearly half-million Penn State alumni around the country and around the world. I can only speak for myself, and this is the experience I had the last few days interacting with the Nebraska community members who came to Happy Valley for (Saturday's) football game.
On Friday, your first fans began making a visible presence felt in downtown State College, Pa. I was, personally, a bit relieved that they came after all the speculation resulting from the horrific events over the last week. It has been a turbulent time for all of us in the Penn State community, and no one could reasonably blame anyone for their trepidation in the face of willingly going into fray, so to speak.
On Friday night I saw members of your community proudly clad in scarlet on the lawn in front of Old Main, participating solemnly, respectfully and supportively during an emotional candlelight vigil. Your fans stood by us while we listened to various community speakers, the Penn State Blue Band, a capella performances and a heartbreaking anonymous letter from a PSU student chronicling her own experiences with sexual abuse. Most importantly, while we prayed for the victims of unspeakable crimes committed in our own community — and victims of sexual abuse all over — you were quite literally standing beside us and standing for what should have been the focus of our community's attention and national media attention all along.
All day Saturday Nebraska fans filled seats in Beaver Stadium, seats in our restaurants and bars and explored the campus we call home. In spite of a close ending to an exciting game – an ending that, I must admit, I wish had a slightly different outcome (ahem) — your fans were gracious and continued to be grateful and kind everywhere I ran into them. From friendly passers-by on campus to a lone Nebraska fan at a gas station on the outskirts of town calling a friend back home to talk about how well things were going in Happy Valley, I did not have a single bad interaction with any member of your community. I sincerely hope the experiences of your Huskers were similarly positive.
Overall, the purpose of this letter is to thank you – all of you. As I said, this has been an extremely difficult time. Emotions have been running high and, to say the least, have gotten the best of most of us at one time or another. As the nation and world have seen, this week glaringly revealed the worst of not just college athletics and higher education, but the worst of humanity as well. The support of your community has shown many of us in Happy Valley the best of college athletics, the best of higher education and the best of humanity. Your support — both implicit and explicit, intentional and incidental — made a world of difference for our entire community this weekend and will continue to allow us to pick ourselves up, to renew our commitments to the values and ideals we seek to uphold and to remember the victims and prevent future tragedies from ever taking place. Thank you again, and I, personally, look forward to seeing you in Nebraska next fall.
Penn State Political Science Ph.D. Candidate
To read more of these letters go here. This is why I love Nebraska and this is why I am proud to be a Husker. I think, however, that we've been praised enough by the Penn State fans. Now it's their turn.
It's true that, yes, something terrible happened at Penn State. But, as a school and as a state, Pennsylvania still has a lot to offer. It takes a lot of courage to admit when something/someone you hold so dear to you has made a mistake and even more to commend your opponent. These fans have done both. They are good people and I respect them.
Thank you, Penn State, for your kind words. I look forward to seeing you here next fall as well.