15 of the Biggest (and Most Interesting) College Stories We Covered in 2013

Johnny Football holds everyone's attention

He showed up to the Mannings' camp with a hangover. He was dismissed from the Mannings' camp. (And later, a Texas frat party.) He threw down stacks with Uncle Nate. He was nearly banned from the NCAA. When it came time for him to show remorse for his “suspension,” he signed air checks. He photobombed kids at Disney World. He also played football. Very well.

Manziel transcended college sports this year. He was loathed and loved in equal measure, and it won't nearly be as fun—for fans, peers, and constantly fascinated bloggers—when he finally departs from College Station. 

Ultimately, Manziel was a guy who refused to hide his true self. In 2013, that was a pretty college move.

University of Delaware riots, SUNY-Cortland and Michigan State (among others) follow suit.

Rioting for very, very little reason was popular this year. University of Delaware's mayham came after I'm Shmacked came into town. As we wrote in September

Not to editorialize, but getting heavily involved in a riot is never very wise. It seems to happen with alarming frequency these days, but just look at the public PR black-eyes Penn State, JMU,WVU, the University of Dayton, and the University of Albany have suffered because of their students acting like morons in the thrill of the moment. On a personal level, the possibility for arrest, injury, and serious legal repercussions that stay on your record is very real.

Yet the current generation of college students is one that came of age with YouTube, idolizingI'm Shmacked's realistic POV projection of college party college across America. College kids gobble it up, too, because everyone wants to see how “hard” their school goes compared to other schools when it comes to partying. The channel's guerilla tactics and massive social media presence just heightens I'm Shmacked's mystique. Run by two college-age students, they pop up on college campuses for big, marquee events with little warning. So when I'm Shmacked — who's never done the UDel thing before — Tweeted the following out, social media exploded

Then, after its annual game against Ithaca in November, it was SUNY-Cortaca's turn. Around 6,000 people took to the streets and caused mayham. We collected pictures and video here.

By the end of the year, with Michigan State also getting into the fray, it became clear that Project X—of all movies—had become the most influential movie of the last 3 years. 

The leaked emails

There was the pretty controversial “Ultimate Guide to Conversing with Jewish Girls,” which first was published via a frat email chain at the University of Maryland. Then: Rebecca Martinson, another Terp (who later became a freelancer here). 

For those of you that have your heads stuck under rocks, which apparently is the majority of this chapter, we have been FUCKING UP in terms of night time events and general social interactions with Sigma Nu. I've been getting texts on texts about people LITERALLY being so fucking AWKWARD and so fucking BORING. If you're reading this right now and saying to yourself “But oh em gee [first name redacted], I've been having so much fun with my sisters this week!”, then punch yourself in the face right now so that I don't have to fucking find you on campus to do it myself.


Two more classics were sent to the site: A Wisconsin kid's now-legendary attempt at picking up his college recruiter (“I was the one looking for equity research positions and had a zit on my lip that could have passed for a cold sore. Lol. Whew. It was not.”), and the Michigan Pikes sending a nearly-nude picture to their favorite sorority. 

Harvard cut-ups pose as Yale tour guides before The Game

From J. Camm on Nov. 21: “I have zero affiliation to either school, but working on the Internet for all these years has given me a great appreciation for thoughtful trolling and this was just that. So many people's entire trip to see Yale's campus was WASTED all because of these Harvard jackasses. My god, I love it. Can't wait to see what Yale attempts as revenge.”

Ohio State takes down its campus' biggest creeper

How one guy harassed hundreds of people at Ohio State—and how its students used Facebook and Reddit to effectively stop him. (Or at least kind of stop him.) 

Two weeks ago, Sean was the subject of a Reddit thread on R/OSU. Over the course of 384 comments, dozens of women accused him of systemic harassment. A user purporting to be Seanpopped into the comments from time to time to call various naysayers “feminists” and “sluts.” He also pimped his website a lot. 

And then, things got wild: Last Friday, Sean took to OSU's Facebook page to express his displeasure with being kicked off campus. The discussion racked up hundreds of comments, and dozens more women shared how he had allegedly stalked them, grabbed them, and taken advantage of them while drunk. OSU guys, meanwhile, trolled the shit out of him. The thread, from which this small segment is taken, is unbelievable. 


Dhokhar Tsarnaev lives a double life as college student and terrorist

He went to a college party after bombing Boston. That never ceases to amaze: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth student and co-conspirator of the Boston Marathon bombings, hung out with friends and indulged in weed and booze after killing three people and injuring 264 others. He kept an active Twitter account, too, and never appeared to be anything but the All-American college kid. It was chilling. 

Alabama's sororities wouldn't desegregate

The best story of the year, as mainly reported by a college newspaper: Alabama's greek system was revealed to be insanely segregated.

The recruit, who asked to remain anonymous, seemed like the perfect sorority pledge on paper, yet didn’t receive a bid from any of the 16 Panhellenic sororities during formal recruitment. Gotz and others said they know why: The recruit is black. She and at least one other black woman, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of personal safety, went through formal recruitment this year, but neither was offered a bid.

Like other black women before them, these two students tried to break what remains an almost impenetrable color barrier. Fifty years after Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first black students to desegregate The University of Alabama, there remains one last bastion of segregation on campus: The UA greek system is still almost completely divided along racial lines.


After the Crimson's story, changes from the school were, at least, promised.

Bad friends, bad hazing

Two of our most viral stories this year featured super-wasted college kids abandoned by “friends.” There was the ASU frat bro dumped at the hospital after 20 shots of tequila. And the really sad tale of University of Minnesota-Duluth sophomore Alyssa Jo Lommel, who suffered hypothermia when left in sub-zero temperatures. Both were sobering reminders to look out for the guys beside you.

Vodka Samm

The flip side of over-drinking: It turns normal people into cult heroes. So it was for “Vodka Samm,” who got extraordinarily drunk before Iowa's first game of the year, jumped on the field, was arrested, and then proceeded to blow a .341 in the drunk tank. Her Twitter feed made her a legend.

Just went to jail #yolo

Blew a .341 in jail

My mom had to get me out of jail and had to take a breathalizer #lmao

I'm going to get .341 tattooed on me because its so epic

Girl waiting for court with me goes “I wish I knew the girl who blew a .341” I said hi

Go Hawks motherfuckers


Samm later turned up on ABC's 20/20. As with most stars' downfalls, the result was vaguely depressing.

The 30 best frat houses in the United States

In January, we set out to rank “your schools' finest dens of debauchery. Your sticky-floored palaces. Your NRHP-ruiners.” The top three were:

3. Delta Kappa Epsilon, Syracuse. Said one, “Dick Clark (huge bro) bought our house.”
2. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Michigan. “Biggest house on campus, resides on the two main streets on campus, home of the Mud Bowl, and over 100 years old.”
1. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Vanderbilt. “It's an actual castle… enough said. It also survived $12,000 worth of Alumni damage so it's got staying power.”

Biggest St. Patrick's Day parties

The list had the lovely distinction of being cited by campus police as a cause of Dayton students' bad behavior during its St. Patrick's Day party. We didn't really buy that. But anyway, here were the top 5 parties we came up with:

5. St. Pat's Five Points, South Carolina
4. Unofficial, Illinois
3. Green Beer Day, Miami (of Ohio)
2. St. Patrick's Day, West Virginia

1. St. Patrick's Day, University of Dayton

Our take: “This party received far more submissions than any other on our list. I think we get it. It's a party for college kids and their friends at a small, close-knit school where everyone more or less knows each other. And, most important of all, it isn't exclusive. Dayton's St. Patrick's Day is a chance for everyone to get drunk with each other at 4 a.m. and on—the frat kids, the freshman, the campus police. The small school's party is comparable with any of the big state school's, which is pretty amazing for a Catholic university of 8,000.

The 50 best party schools

In April, we used an actual algorithm to compile our definitive list of party schools, taking into account Playboy/Newsweek/Princeton Review rankings, school reputation, national championship appearances, and other measures to create a top 50.

Our top 10:

10. ASU
9. FSU
8. Ohio University
7. University of California-Santa Barbara
6. Penn State
5. University of Georgia
4. University of Wisconsin
3. University of Texas
2. University of Florida
1. West Virginia 

From a testimonial: “Attending WVU is incredibly unique experience. It is a very diverse campus, however, there is one common goal: to get obliterated in any humanly way possible. Alcohol, or any other drug that you may need, is at your disposable. Alcohol is the drug of choice, obviously. On nights such as Fall Fest, which occurs every year on the first day of class, is much closer to mayhem than a party. Essentially, the entire school parties at once, up and down frat row, high street, and in the concert itself is located in the middle of campus. Much of the time this leads to one big mob in the street.”

Army vs. Navy

The battle between Army-Navy hype videos was one of the most fun (and criminally underreported) subplots of the college football season. A Midshipmen kicked things off with a smooth “Suit & Tie” cover.

Army followed with this spirit video, which caused me to punch through a wall.

And then Navy countered with a really fast rap.

(Navy won the game, 34-7.)

Sorority girls!

Ah, sorority girls and their recruitment videos. For every drool-worthy clip—hi, Arizona Alpha Phi!—there were three head-scratchers. Like AEPhi's non-A$AP approved “Fuckin' Problem”…

… And everyone's favorite USC-“Wrecking Ball” mashup. (I've never made it past the 51-second mark.)

New York Times gets it wrong

Trend pieces! Every mainstream publication in the country had a trend piece about college kids' hook-up habits this year. It was weird. This was territory first covered, I dunno, 15 years ago?

The grandaddy of 'em all was the New York Times' “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too.” Wrote Brandon Wenerd in his long takedown:

 For those of us familiar with decades of progressive “sex-on-campus” talk (i.e.: anyone who's stepped foot on a college campus in the last 30+ years), the NYT article felt like someone woke up from a nap that started in the Victorian Age and saw coed couples having no-strings-attached relationships for the very first time. Nevermind the movies, tv shows, books, and hundreds — if not thousands — of other trend stories from all sorts of outlets about casual sex on college campuses these days. Just take a look at it's thesis statement: 

“Until recently, those who studied the rise of hookup culture had generally assumed that it was driven by men… But there is an increasing realization that young women are propelling it, too.”

The Times sudden relevaltion that we were living in a hook-up culture that both men and women were invested in was very weird. 


Of course there was much more. Our college section can be found, as always, right here