March 07, 2011
As college campuses go, Stanford is a pretty world-weary environment – you know, with the former secretary of state and 16 Nobel Laureates, etc. – but even the knees of the non-gridiron-obsessed had to buckle for a few seconds when they caught the front-page headline of Monday's Stanford Daily, declaring messiah quarterback Andrew Luck's abrupt intention to declare for next month's NFL draft.
In fact, the misdirection should have fooled only the non-gridiron-obsessed. More diligent Luck fans know his chance to throw his hat in the ring expired almost two months ago, shortly after he announced he was passing up a chance to be the No. 1 pick in the draft to finish an architectural engineering degree and take another shot at the conference and national championships that narrowly eluded the Cardinal last year. (For its part, the article attempted to explain the timing by claiming Luck received a late exemption.) He also took out a lucrative insurance policy last month in case a serious injury derails his chances of going in the 2012 draft.
Then again, this is Stanford, where football ranks relatively low among local obsessions even on the heels of the team's best season in 70 years. More likely, alarmed readers recognized the issue as the work of the jesters at the Stanford Chaparral, the campus humor magazine that drops its annual April Fool's Day edition of the Daily a few weeks early every year, according to Daily managing editor Mary Liz McCurdy. (Her only concern when I asked her about the headline was whether it had shown up online as an actual Daily story; it hasn't.)
If they didn't get the joke on Luck, the prospect of Daniel Radcliffe as commencement speaker (to "talk about success in the real world"), the Daily referring to itself as "An Indicted Publication" and a weather forecast of "Double Sunny" probably did the trick. Between the annual fakery in Palo Alto and the infamous 1982 hoax edition Stanford printed of the rival Daily Californian declaring the classic game from a few days earlier a retroactive victory for the Cardinal, I don't know how anyone on any campus in the Bay Area believes anything.
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