USC football player Marqise Lee announced Tuesday to a crowd of about 400 attendees, including multiple news outlets, that he would be not be returning to the football team this fall, and instead would join the USC basketball team.
However, Lee’s announcement was simply part of an annual prank held by the Skull and Dagger Society, the oldest all-unversity honor society.
The prank, held in front of Tommy Trojan, served as an opportunity to announce the society’s new student members for 2013 and to commemorate the society’s 100th anniversary.
Undergraduate Student Government President Mikey Geragos introduced the event, which was advertised as a special announcement by the university. USC Song Girls performed to ‘Fight On!’ before football players Matt Barkley and Khaled Holmes went on stage.
Barkley introduced Lee for his special announcement. Lee jokingly stated that he would play basketball in the 2014 season, a reference to the recent announcement of the hiring of Andy Enfield, the new USC basketball coach.
“I’ve now decided to actually quit football to pursue my dreams in basketball to play for Dunk City USC,” Lee said.
Holmes then approached the mic to assure the attendees that Lee was not serious.
“That’s not serious — not at all,” Holmes said. “I would like to announce much more important news — that it is the 100th anniversary of Skull and Dagger.”
Following the announcement, new members wearing black tuxedo tails and holding canes released fake $100 bills printed with the Skull and Dagger symbol and dropped a banner from the fourth floor balcony of the Gwynn Wilson Student Union building, across from Tommy Trojan.
The prank served as an informal initiation of the society’s newest members, who were selected for the fame and honor they brought to the university, according to a press release. Members of the society include student leaders from different university organizations and athletic teams.
The society, founded in 1913, selects students, staff, administrators and alumni to join each year.