In conjunction with colleague Mark Schlabach's story on the history of pranks in college sports and the differentiation between a prank and vandalism, Michael Rothstein and Chantel Jennings decided to reflect and share our favorite college sports-related prank or mascot-related kerfuffle.
Chantel Jennings: For the week leading up to the Michigan-Michigan State football game, students will find couches, heaters, speakers and cookouts in the middle of Michigan’s bustling academic side of campus. The area, known as “The Diag,” houses a famous block M that was once painted green by visiting Spartan students. To avoid that, members of Theta Xi fraternity “Defend The Diag” every year, setting up a perimeter and guarding it 24 hours a day. The group has done this for more than a decade and even has a Twitter page with a profile that reads, “Protecting the most valuable piece of brass in existence from our little brother since 2000.”
Michael Rothstein: For as long as I can remember, I've always found mascots funny. When I was a kid, I loved when they fought. Now as a reporter, sometimes I'll look over to the mascot for moments of levity in the midst of a big game to remind me that, yes, this is all just a game. Mascot-on-mascot violence is often staged and expected. Then, there was this in 2010 when Ohio faced Ohio State. And the only one with the plan before the game was the man inside the Ohio mascot, Rufus Bobcat. Brutus, the Ohio State mascot, ran out on to the field with the rest of his Buckeyes brethren prior to the when he was speared and then chased down again by Rufus. What initially appeared to be a spontaneous idea was actually thought out beforehand as the man behind Rufus, Brandon Hanning, told reporters afterward he tried out to be Rufus solely for the moment where he could tackle Brutus. This did not go over well. He was fired for the incident.