Featured Testimonial About Creighton University
I can confirm that Creighton is NOT starting up football this fall.
Stories like this wouldn't be possible without the Creighton Archives. You can make a Giving Day gift to support the Archives today!
* * *
By Micah Mertes
In honor of April Fools’ Day, we wanted to put together a list of the hoaxes, jokes, goofs and pranks that have taken place at Creighton or were at least affiliated with the University.
Most of these gags were all in good fun, but please note that none of the following is an endorsement. Though we’re (mostly) not including stupid or dangerous pranks — obscene phone calls, pulling a dorm fire alarm at 2 a.m., etc. — a few of these were just too bizarre and ingenious not to mention.
* * *
Creighton’s football team wins national championship
In 1983, Creightonian writer Bob McDonald, BA’84, needed a filler article for the front page. Bob: “I said, ‘Hey, I’ll just write a story pretending there’s a football team and give the results.’” In Bob’s account, the Bluejays beat the Michigan Wolverines 20-17.
This was intended to be a one-and-done joke, no follow-up, but the reaction was so positive that Bob’s goofy Hail Mary of a filler article became a season-long series, with the Bluejays going 11-0, winning the national championship and the Super Bowl.
That fall, the Omaha World-Herald wrote a story about Creighton football’s faux revival. The Associated Press soon followed up with its own story, which ran in papers across the country. The coverage snowballed from there, up to the point that a CBS camera crew came to Creighton to film the fake team playing a fake game for a real news segment.
Clips of the game — including a touchdown run by then-Creighton President the Rev. Michael Morrison, SJ — aired a few weeks later during the Nebraska vs. Oklahoma game.
The noise in Creighton Hall
This one’s a little mean, but its commitment and consistency merits mention …
For six months in 1925, faculty and staff were tormented several times a day by a terrible clanking sound in Creighton Hall. Creighton called in multiple plumbers to inspect the system, including the heating plant, but no one could find the source of the noise.
The sound was later revealed to be the work of one student, who discovered that by striking a radiator in the basement with a hammer, the noise would resound in every room in the building. For those six months, he hit the radiator every morning, afternoon and evening.
He eventually got some of his friends involved, and they created a variation of Morse code to relay messages to each other through the pipes.
The Wareham Werewolf
Do you know the terrifying tale of Creighton’s hamburger-stealing werewolf of the 1950s?
Opossum in the bathroom
This happened in 2002 …
Creighton starts football team (again)
One of the most successful purveyors of Creighton-related gags has actually been CornNation, SBNation’s Nebraska Cornhuskers site.
Ever a fan of April Fools’ jokes, CornNation is responsible for such headlines as:
- Nebraska considers canceling annual basketball series against Creighton (because) “we’re just sick and tired of losing to them every year”
- BREAKING: Creighton Football to Begin In 2015
The latter spoof article was especially well done, offering an in-depth account of how Bruce Rasmussen worked with Tom Osborne to help Creighton create a Big 12 football team. Sources also informed the reporter that the program was made possible by a significant donation from Berkshire Hathaway. (This detail justified CornNation’s surreal image of a Photoshopped Warren Buffett covered in Creighton face tattoos.)
The April Fools’ article was apparently so convincing that it tricked at least one major media outlet. More than a year later, the Chicago Sun-Times published a story about Doug McDermott, BSBA’14, that included this detail:
“When Bulls forward Doug McDermott went to Creighton University, the Bluejays didn't have a football team. This season, the Nebraska school is establishing a football team, but McDermott won't be following the team.”
CornNation did its victory lap for fooling the Sun-Times, as the joke grew so out of control that it forced Creighton’s sports information director, Rob Anderson, to weigh in:
Many of the pranks of yore were very, very corny.
Speaking of water, you’ve got to give the University credit for having the foresight in 1971 to prevent 1,000 pranks and tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
'The Great Extraction'
One night in 1973 on the lawn of the dental school, a group of dental students pried loose a giant aluminum tooth sculpture and bolted it to the turf of the fine arts building. The prank was soon deemed “The Great Extraction.”
Joe Louis to fight Creighton boxers
On April 1, 1936, the Creightonian ran a front-page story that Joe Louis — then just a year from claiming the title of heavyweight world champion — was coming to Creighton to fight local boxers (and Creighton students) Carl Vincequerra and Paul Hartnek in the Old Gymnasium.
The April Fools' Day story really sold the joke. The article claimed the exhibition bouts would raise funds for the University. It even included Joe Louis’ supposed telegraph to Creighton:
Apparently, a lot of people fell for it, forcing a mock exhibition fight in the gym (without Louis, of course) and an uproar from the Creighton Students Union Board of Governors running the fundraising campaign the fight would supposedly support.
The Creightonian’s following issue ran this telegraph from the board, which appears to be legit, but honestly, who knows:
To be fair, Joe Louis really did come to Creighton several years later. In 1942, just a month before Creighton played its last football game, Louis and future Major League Baseball player Jackie Robinson attended the Creighton vs. Fore Riley game at Creighton Stadium. They were both part of Fort Riley’s segregated marching unit.
Another true story: The student/boxer Carl Vinciquerra went to the 1936 Olympics (and later worked at the front desk of the Kiewit Fitness Center for several years in the 1980s). You can read more about him here.
The April Fools’ edition
On the few occasions a Creightonian edition fell on April 1, the staff rarely missed the opportunity to have a little fun with the front page.
This tradition reached its peak with the April 1, 1949, issue, which packed its first two pages full of fake news stories. They included:
CU Scientists Find Life on Mars
Creighton Students Receive Pulitzer Awards
Semester Exams Banished
* * *
In all seriousness, we’d like to offer past staff members of the Creightonian a huge thanks for preserving the true stories of so many great dumb jokes.