A fast-food delivery courtside during a college basketball game that looked accidental and went viral was intended to do exactly that as a planned prank, Duquesne University said Thursday.
A delivery person bearing a bag of McDonald's food and a drink made his way on to the court during Duquesne's men's basketball game against Loyola Chicago on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
As play as going on early in the second half, the delivery man was motioned by a referee to get off the court, but he headed toward the opposite end of the floor to make his delivery. Play was then halted.
The entire incident, with incredulous commentary from game broadcasters, was captured on video and went viral on the internet. That was the plan by the pranksters, Duquesne said in the statement Thursday.
"This was a prank, planned in advance, done for internet exposure," the statement read. "We determined that the individual was wearing a mic while someone filmed him as he walked on to the court during active play. While the incident may have seemed funny at the time, and no harm was done, we are mindful that incidents like this can put players and officials at risk.
"The University has reviewed its safety protocols and tightened its security measures to ensure conditions for our players and fans are safe and meet the standards for the highest level of competition in college basketball."
Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after game, "I really didn't see it, that's how crazy it is. I just saw the video after the game. Our guys were dying laughing in (the locker room). Guy had a job to do. He did his job well."
Dambrot said it was the "craziest thing I've ever seen in my life, other than when I was an assistant at Eastern Michigan, we had these friends of ours that were good fans. And they got the ice cream guy to deliver the ice cream to the coach coaching the game, during the game. The closest thing I've seen to that."
Austin Hansen, who was filming in the corner of the court during the game, didn't think Wednesday's incident was quite that funny. An assistant athletics director at Loyola, Hansen wrote that the delivery person wasn't kicked out of the arena and "casually walked back into the stands with his McDonalds bag."
Hansen concluded his five-part thread with this promise: "I will personally tackle anyone else who does this. Just let the athletes play the game without worry that they are going to get hurt by a stray delivery person."
Perhaps lost in all of the attention was the game itself, with the host Dukes rallying from an early deficit to win 72-58.
--Field Level Media