Many of you are now familiar with the Penn State and Philadelphia sports blog known as The School Philly. Founded in August 2010 by two ambitious Penn State juniors, most know them for their tendency to use the word “fuck”, or for their renowned PSU’s Dime-a-Dozen section that profiles Penn State’s hottest girls.
But just what makes these wordsmiths tick? What goes on behind bulwark walls of “The School Philly House,” a remote College Avenue edifice that the founders of The School Philly and fourteen other stalwarts call home? These are the answers I sought, and so I arranged for a historic meeting to be held.
This would not be any ordinary meeting. Anyone who follows either of us on Twitter knows that I have had my differences with the gentlemen of The School Philly in the past. But in the name of blogs and the Penn State media family, we set aside our grievances, even if just for a few moments.
And so it was, on that fateful Wednesday afternoon, deep within the chambers of the HUB-Robeson Center, the two Penn State media giants finally met face to face (There might be a third one I’m forgetting, but nothing comes to mind). Accompanied by two of Onward State’s founders (“strong and great”) and another writer, we sat down to pick apart the brains behind the blog: Andrew Porter, Ryan Murray, and Andrew Tepel.
I wanted first to get a feel for the history of their enterprise. Porter and Murray began by launching the blog as a part of Barstool Sports: Philly to focus solely on Philadelphia sports. When Barstool Sports didn’t have enough money to continue the venture after only three weeks, the two media pioneers decided to continue with the blog under a new name, The School Philly. And so, the legend was born.
“We definitely don’t try to take ourselves too seriously,” Porter said. “We don’t really care to be credible. We just want to be able to laugh at it. Our goal is to entertain the average Penn State student. We never planned to be a news source.”
That structure changed when the Sandusky scandal erupted in early November. With a growing number of readers focusing on Penn State student media, The School Philly tried to publish content as quickly as possible. “We wouldn’t be relevant if we didn’t talk about it,” Porter said. “We realized, ‘Crap, we’re going to be doing journalism now.'”
One aspect of Penn State student life being taken head-on by The School Philly, which may be most relevant to you, is their promotion of our sacred holiday, State Patty’s Day. Their Facebook event for the pseudo-holiday already has over 8,000 confirmed attendees, and they are even selling their own t-shirts. As they put it, “We don’t promote the destruction or arrests or any of that, but we have a voice in this thing. It’s something really unique to Penn State that we have a good time with.”
I was most fascinated to learn about the fabled position of “Dime-a-Dozen Chairman,” held by the esteemed Kwame Manu. When I think of Manu, I can’t help but recall the wise words of Kanye West: “No one man should have all that power.” You see, Manu decides which potential “Dimes” achieve their dreams of being featured on the site. When asked how the selection process works, I was simply told, “It’s very competitive. Just about one out of every ten nominations are chosen.” Manu does not talk to the media and has never been seen in public without a disguise.
Even more revered than the “Dime-a-Dozen Chairman,” is “Penn State’s Wildest Girl” @slut_it_up. She has been writing wild sex articles for The School Philly ever since Kristina Helfer broke the internets. Her identity is so secretive that The School Philly claims to not even know her name. “She won’t meet us,” Murray said. “We just get the e-mails from her and go with them.”
For The School Philly, the future remains unknown. With Porter and Murray graduating after this semester, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will continue the blog. But one thing is for certain, they’re not going anywhere soon.
As tough as it is to admit, there are times when I see a part of myself in The School Philly. Perhaps you do too.