A Nebraska regent has expressed concern for the safety of the Cornhuskers football team during Saturday's game at Penn State.
Regent Tim Claire said he grew worried about the potential for danger while watching footage of students flooding the streets of State College on Wednesday night after the Joe Paterno firing. A TV news truck was overturned and there were some scuffles with police during the demonstrations.
Penn State police chief Tyrone Parham told The Associated Press on Thursday that his force is "taking extra precautions and has added additional resources for the game."
Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne released the following statement on Thursday afternoon:
“I am saddened to learn of the recent events at Penn State and we will continue to monitor the developments on their campus. We will hold the alleged victims and all those involved in our thoughts and prayers.
“We have had a number of inquiries from fans regarding the circumstances at Penn State and the conditions they might expect in attending the game. UNL Chief of Police Owen Yardley is in touch with the Penn State police department and we have talked with interim Penn State Athletic Director Mark Sherburne. We have visited with Penn State security and we understand they are enhancing their security efforts for Saturday’s game and are taking extra precautions to ensure that all players, coaches and fans are treated in a respectful way. We also appreciate that there is a student-led effort at Penn State to respectfully welcome Nebraska fans to Beaver Stadium and into the Big Ten Conference. We know that our fans will reciprocate and display good sportsmanship toward Penn State’s fans and players.”
Claire's concerns have some merit, because no one is quite sure how to predict what might happen during Saturday's game. But students have mostly directed their anger at the Penn State administration and the media here in the past few days. While one student told me Wednesday night that things "will get ugly" after the game if the Nittany Lions lose, I have a hard time seeing how any outburst would be directed toward Nebraska players, coaches or their fans, who are basically just bystanders in this whole affair. The team will leave Beaver Stadium quickly after the game, and visiting fans might want to exercise some caution if they venture out in the city Saturday evening.
This remains a volatile situation, and you can understand Claire's trepidation. Penn State students and fans haven't exactly covered themselves in glory the past couple of nights, but this is an opportunity to show what they're made of in a tough time for the entire school.