2004 Harvard–Yale prank
The 2004 Harvard–Yale prank was a practical joke performed on November 20, 2004, at the annual Harvard–Yale football game in which Yale students, costumed as a Harvard "pep squad", perpetrated a card stunt. They gave out placards to a section of Harvard fans which, when raised together, read "WE SUCK".
The stunt was conceived and coordinated by Michael Kai and David Aulicino, two Yale students in the class of 2005, and was executed with the help of 20 classmates. Disguised as the "Harvard Pep Squad", the perpetrators handed crimson-and-white placards to fans—mostly Harvard alumni, with a few faculty, students, and others—in the central area of the Harvard side of the stadium. The group told the crowd that by lifting the placards they would spell "GO HARVARD".
Most Harvard students, sitting in a section off to the side of the alumni area where the prank was executed, left the stands unaware of the prank; however, players on the field did see the placards. Harvard won the game, 35–3.
Initially, many at Harvard denied the prank had happened. In response, Yale students registered the domain name "harvardsucks.org" (as well as "yalesucks.org" in a preemptive move) and posted a video detailing their efforts. Chuck Sullivan, Harvard's director of athletic communications, said "[It was] all in good fun". In an interview with The Harvard Crimson, the prank's organizers claimed that members of the Harvard Band were complicit with the Yale pranksters.
Media and Internet coverage
The prank was covered by newspapers, radio programs, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, MSNBC, and several other TV shows. Several magazines have listed the prank among the greatest in college history. A satirical article in Maxim says Yale perpetrated "the greatest prank this side of the Mason-Dixon line since the Boston Tea Party...and caused dozens of stoic, blue-blooded Harvard men to spit port wine all over their smoking jackets". Sports Illustrated featured the prank with "some of the best attempts to get the other guy's goat". ESPN and ESPN2 featured the prank in a 15-minute documentary on the rivalry.
This prank echoes many similar stunts, most notably the Great Rose Bowl Hoax of 1961. In that Rose Bowl game, California Institute of Technology students had manipulated several of the ending card stunts led by Washington cheerleaders, the last of which caused the letters in "CALTECH" to be spelled out.
- Ruggeri, Amanda (2004-11-29). "Elis outsmart Harvard with prank at Game". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
- ESPN documentary on the Harvard-Yale rivalry, featuring the "We Suck" prank, December, 2005.
- "Harvard Football: A Timeline of Tradition". Retrieved 2010-05-04.
- Kelly, M. Aidan (2004-12-02). "Yale's Brief Shining Moment". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- Video of the incident
- New York Sun, Dec. 1, 2004
- New Haven Register
- "From Hermes to bonsai kittens". The Economist. 2005-12-24. pp. 82–83.
- "Pranks for the Memories". Sports Illustrated. 2005-12-12. p. 36.
- "Ivy Beleaguered". Maxim. February 2005. pp. 20–21. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- "Harvard Gets Pranked!". FHM. March 2005. p. 30.
- "Sportsmanship HARVARD SUCKS". PCFormat. March 2005. p. 30.
- Harvardsucks.org, website maintained by the pranksters