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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Students and Media Pranked by USC Secret Society

Matt Barkley and other members of the Skull and Dagger secret society pulled off an elaborate prank the day after April Fool's Day.

April Fools came a day late for USC students and Los Angeles news outlets.

Football fans, students, and local news outlets gathered in front of Tommy Trojan Tuesday to hear a supposed announcement from USC's former quarterback Matt Barkley.

Courtesy of ATVN
Courtesy of ATVN

The announcement, which had been publicized through the City News Service, was expected to involve the university's future.

Members of the press were told to check in on the USC campus by 11:45 am to hear the announcement. 

After Monday's announcement that USC would gain former Florida Gulf Coast University men's basketball coach Andy Enfield, many were expecting a gripping news conference.

Students and members of the media were shocked when the announcement turned out to be an April Fool's prank made by the Skull and Dagger society, which Barkley is a member of.

Members announced that Tuesday marked the 100 year anniversary of the Skull and Dagger society.

Barkley spoke briefly during the event, discussing the importance of basketball in the USC community.

Marquise Lee also showed his support for basketball, joking that he was going to leave football to play for "dunk city."

After the two players spoke, a banner was suddenly unfurled in front of the Campus Center which featured the Skull and Dagger logo.

Courtesy of ATVN
Courtesy of ATVN

Fake hundred dollar bills with the Skull and Dagger logo were thrown from the stage.

The USC Song Girls, multiple football and basketball players and the student body president were all present for the prank.

At least four major local news stations sent crews to cover the story.

Many of these station's cameramen and reporters expressed their frustration that they had spent time and money covering a fake news event.

USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone sent an e-mail Tuesday afternoon apologizing to local news stations for the prank.

Tessalone assured the recipients of the e-mail that the USC Athlethics Department was not involved in planning or carrying out the prank.

Skull and Dagger members are known for pulling pranks, and fooled USC students last April by promoting a fake sweepstakes to win USC football field passes.


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