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December 02, 2016

Penn State asks students not to riot if they win Big Ten Championship

Plea comes after damages and arrests tarnished win over Ohio State

Colleges Riots
Penn State Ohio State Chris Knight/AP

Penn State fans celebrate on the field after Penn State upset Ohio State in a college football game in State College, Pennsylvania, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. Penn State won 24-21.

Penn State University officials are politely asking their students not to riot if the Nittany Lions beat the University of Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Football Championship Game Saturday night.

The plea comes more than a month after arrests were made and damages were incurred on campus when the Lions upset Ohio State at Beaver Stadium.

In a letter posted to the school website Thursday, Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims and Assistant Vice President for University Police Charlie Noffsinger said the school community should be pleased with the team's success, adding that Saturday's game in Indianapolis could bring more cause for celebration.

RELATED: How a blocked field goal changed Penn State's season

"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 letter reads. "The victory over Ohio State earlier this year was needlessly tarnished by the mayhem that followed."

Thirteen people were eventually charged for their behavior on the night of Oct. 22. Five students were hit with a felony charge of riot and could face up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

The frenzy after Penn State's 24-21 victory over the Buckeyes caused an estimated $30,000 in damages.

One student created a GoFundMe campaign to try and raise money for repairs. However, as of Friday morning, that campaign had only raised around $1,700 of an $18,000 goal.

Saturday's game, scheduled for 8 p.m., isn't in State College. But the university is still urging students not to cause similar destruction in the event of a victory.

Sims and Noffsinger reminded students that celebrating "never justifies harm to safety or public property."

"Let's enjoy Saturday's game, and let's do our best to encourage a win through our positive support of the team," the letter reads. "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."