While working on the 2018 Top 25 College Tailgates issue – it’s coming out very soon, by the way – I wrote about a prank at the University of Michigan 20 years ago in which some fans of the Syracuse Orange stole the Wolverine’s banner, part of one of Michigan’s most treasured game day traditions. However, while researching the story I came across a college football prank so shrewd, so devious, and so meticulously planned and executed it could only have been accomplished by the brilliant and twisted minds in the Ivy League.
In a scheme cooked up for the annual Harvard-Yale rivalry game, 24 enterprising Yale students posed as members of a non-existent student organization called the Harvard Pep Squad. The Yale imposters proceeded to pass placards out to fans in the Harvard section of the Yale Bowl that, they explained, when held up in the air at an appointed time would spell the phrase “Go Harvard”. In actuality, the placards were strategically arranged to spell something else entirely – “We Suck”.
Without a giant video board, the Harvard fans, made up largely of alumni and family members of players, were unaware of the phrase they were actually spelling. So, prompted by the “Harvard Pep Squad”, the crowd held up the signs once more, spelling out the offending phrase, many of whom left the stadium after the game unaware that they had been pranked.
According to some reports on the prank, many Harvard fans and students denied the prank ever took place. So, in response, Yale students created the website harvardsucks.org and posted video evidence of the prank.
Harvard won the game, however, 35-3.