by Sean Kernan
I don’t usually love pranks. They’re too mean spirited. People often get hurt or humiliated. However, I have an exception. It’ll be hard to top. And it’s highly underappreciated. Wait for it. Insert two Yale students, Mike Kai and David Aulicino, who became friends that year. They were prone to lots of shenanigans.
They were brainstorming ideas for the coming game with their longtime rival, Harvard. They wanted to do something that involved lots of people and would live on in students' memories.
It took nearly a year to plan, with several moments where they were nearly caught. But once executed, it proved to be worth the risk.
First, they developed a grid map of the opposing side of the stadium.
Then, a month before the game, they printed giant signs that were either red or white (the colors for Harvard.)
In their first attempt, a bomb scare came in and resulted in a quick cancellation of the game. The stadium was almost entirely empty, yet Mike and David were there with all of their supplies in the lobby. This made them suspicious characters in the eyes of the police, who interrogated them for more than an hour. Eventually, they were let go, which proved to be a blessing as it gave them more time to plan their prank. They’d already found a few problems during this dry run.
Months later, their second shot came and there would be no further delays.
Initially, they’d planned on taping the cardboard to the seats in the stadium but realized it wouldn’t work and security might remove them beforehand.
They decided to take a more manual approach and brought twenty friends with them.
When they’d been interrogated the first time, they had no good excuses for security, particularly as to why they were on the Harvard side of the stadium.
This time around, they would be in disguise. They arrived early at the stadium wearing T-shirts that said, “Harvard Pep Squad”.
They’d also made fake Harvard student IDs, with fake names in case they were interrogated. The group then fanned out and began passing the signs out to stadium seat holders.
At one point, they were confronted by a student, who was suspicious for good reason — pranks are common between the two schools:
He pressured them with Harvard-specific questions to prove they were actually students, before they showed him their fake ID to chase him off.
They resumed their plan.
The problem they faced: seating was via benches rather than named seats. Spacing the cardboard out would be challenging. Fortunately, and unsurprisingly, both pranksters were quite good at problem-solving. They were able to get the approximate spacing of people using their grid map.
Then, after they’d handed the cardboard to all the Harvard students and alumni, their pep team spread out along the bench sidelines between plays and began giving the signal.
Slowly, and then all at once, the Harvard students and alumni began to hold up their signs.
And the prank was complete.
Mike and David were immortalized in one of the most epic pranks in history.
The beauty is that nobody on the Harvard side knew what had happened until after the fact. They held the signs up several times throughout the game.
On the other side of the stadium, Yale was chanting “You suck” over and over again. It wasn’t until the Harvard fans left the stadium and someone said, “Hey PS — about those signs…” that they actually figured out they’d been had.
Later, the trick was even paraded around in several newspapers and magazines.
After the game, Mike and David were questioned by Yale authorities but there was never any real threat of punishment. It wasn’t much of a secret that the administration was amused by their exploit.
In their defense, nobody really got hurt or humiliated in the process.
It was just a damn good prank.
The Most Epic University Prank in History | by Sean Kernan | History of Yesterday | Aug, 2020 | Medium