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Nittany Nation
Formation 2003
Purpose/focus College basketball student section
Headquarters Bryce Jordan Center
Location University Park, Pennsylvania
Affiliations Penn State Nittany Lions men's basketball

Nittany Nation is the student cheering section supporting the Penn State Nittany Lions men's basketball team. Founded during the 2003/04 season, the section is present at the Bryce Jordan Center for every home game with its name on the court along the sideline. ESPN and the Big Ten Network feature the section during live game action.

Until 2007, the organization was known as "Nittwits."



Nittany Nation stands courtside surrounding three sides of the floor at the Jordan Center where they cheer for the team. All Penn State basketball student season ticket holders are members of the organization and receive a white Nike t-shirt[1] to wear during games as a part of their efforts to distract the opposing team and provide a home court advantage. Students occasionally wear blue and white scarves to compliment their t-shirt.

The atmosphere resembles that of a European soccer match, with constant jumping, chanting, and waving of flags.

Forty Minutes is the nationally-known official gameday publication of Nittany Nation, providing information about the Nittany Lions basketball team and their opponent on any particular night. It is widely regarded as college basketball's premiere student section newsletter.[2] The information contained in Forty Minutes is intended for the purpose of heckling that night's opponent as well as supporting the Nittany Lions.

The Ohio State editions for both 2005 and 2006 were criticized by Buckeye fans for being unsportsmanlike due to references regarding allegations that several notable athletes received illegal donations during their college career.[3]

During the 2007/08 season, participation in the Nation dramatically increased, with over 5700 students attending an ESPN-televised contest against Ohio State.[4]

Nittany Nation also plans away game bus trips to both conference and non-conference gymnasiums. Past excursions include visits to Seton Hall, Michigan, St. Joseph's and Penn. Over 30 busloads of students were brought to Madison Square Garden to watch the Nittany Lions capture the 2009 National Invitation Tournament championship.[5][6]


Nittany Nation helps organize several events with the university's athletic department and the basketball team to benefit the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, including a dodgeball tournament in the fall,[7] and an attendance-based fundraiser at one home game during the Big Ten season.[4]


In March 2006, ESPN's Page 2 did a nationwide search for the top male and female student fans of college basketball.[8] In a contest that included students from such basketball powerhouses as Duke University, Gonzaga University and the University of Connecticut, former section president Jennifer Owsiany garnered the most tallies when voting was completed at the conclusion of March Madness on April 3, 2006.[9]

Nittany Nation was also featured in conjunction with the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon as part of ESPN's Student Spirit Week for the Nittany Lions' 2008 matchup against Ohio State. [10]



  1. ^ "Penn State Live: Event promotes sales of basketball student tickets". Retrieved October 1 2008.  
  2. ^ "The Digital Collegian: Despite losing season, fans psyched". Retrieved July 11 2006.  
  3. ^ "The Columbus Dispatch: Penn State fans’ newsletter pokes fun at OSU athletics". Retrieved July 6 2006.  
  4. ^ a b "The Daily Collegian: Proceeds from game will benefit Thon". Retrieved March 31 2008.  
  5. ^ "New York Post: NITTANY NATION IS RIGHT AT HOME". Retrieved April 2 2009.  
  6. ^ "New York Times: Penn State Wins Its First N.I.T. at a Raucous Garden". Retrieved April 3 2009.  
  7. ^ "The Daily Collegian: Teams raise money, dodge balls for Thon". Retrieved March 31 2008.  
  8. ^ " Page 2: Vote for Miss Bracket". Retrieved July 6 2006.  
  9. ^ " Meet the 2006 Miss Bracket - Jennifer Owsiany". Retrieved July 6 2006.  
  10. ^ "Student Spirit Week: Ohio State at Penn State (2008)". Commentators: Brent Musburger, Steve Lavin and Erin Andrews. Super Tuesday. ESPN, University Park, PA. 2008-01-29.

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