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Penn State Wins $10,000 in ESPN's Inaugural College Colors Competition

by on August 29, 2012 3:12 PM

Penn State's athletic department announced Wednesday via ESPN that Penn State fans voted the university to victory and a $10,000 grand prize in ESPN's College Colors contest. 

The contest started on Aug. 1 and was supposed to run through Aug. 31, but ESPN said in a statement it closed voting on Aug. 24 after "inauthentic activity" on the "Pledge Your College Colors" website suddenly pushed some schools way ahead in the voting. 

The full statement from ESPN was published on the Athletic Department's website. 

"Penn State has won the inaugural College Colors Day Spirit Cup, along with $10,000 toward the University's general scholarship fund, as part of the Pledge Your Allegiance campaign. The campaign was launched by the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), a division of IMG College, and NCAA Football, to celebrate the excitement and energy surrounding the kickoff of the 2012 college football season. The competition encourages fans to wear their favorite school's colors on Friday, Aug. 31.

"The campaign, a web-based rivalry powered by ESPN.com, featured 172 colleges and universities from across the nation. Penn State won with 44,801 pledges – rounding out the top five schools were Texas A&M, Missouri, West Virginia and Alabama.

"The competition began on Aug. 1; Penn State took the lead in the competition about a week into pledging and maintained its lead until the end. Penn State's surge came as the result of a grassroots effort on the part of students, alumni, employees and fans. The contest also was promoted on Penn State's Facebook page and on Twitter.

"We are elated to see this incredible expression of Penn State pride, spirit and support demonstrated by our students, alumni, faculty and staff, and friends and fans in winning the Pledge Your Allegiance contest," said Roger Williams, executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association. "This national victory is what Nittany Nation is all about. We know Penn Staters everywhere will join us in celebrating by wearing their blue and white with great pride."

"A formal presentation of the award will take place during the 2012-13 academic year.

"We are honored to recognize Penn State as the winner of the College Colors Day Spirit Cup and congratulate them on a tremendous effort to rally their fans in the inaugural Pledge Your Allegiance contest," said Catherine Gammon, senior vice president, brand development, the Collegiate Licensing Company. "We thank all college fans who participated in the competition and encourage fans to continue supporting their favorite school by wearing their college gear on Friday, Aug. 31."

"In order to determine which school has the most spirited fan base, College football's 173 million fans were encouraged to visitwww.espn.com/collegecolorsday to pledge their allegiance to their favorite college or university. Standings were tracked nationally, as well as by conference.

"The contest was scheduled to run through College Colors Day on Aug. 31, however, due to inauthentic activity on the Pledge Your Allegiance website, administrators ended the online competition on Aug. 24. Penn State was determined the winner based on the authentic pledges that were received through Aug. 24.

"This year, College Colors Day is bigger than ever with more than 200 participating universities, the NCAA, and more than 10,000 stores representing the nation's top retailers participating in events and promotions to provide fans all the gear they need to show their college spirit. The collegiate fan base is the largest, most affluent, and the most well-educated in all of sports. Collegiate licensed merchandise generated nearly $4.6 billion in retail sales in 2011, with royalties from the merchandise going back to colleges to support scholarships and campus development programs."

More information on College Colors Day is available on its website or the Facebook page.

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Laura Nichols is a StateCollege.com news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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