LEWISTON — A recent fake social media post by Barstool Sports, a sports and pop culture blog, has college students in fierce debate over which school is the best party school in Maine.

Taking the top spot — according to Barstool — is Bates College in Lewiston.

“Bates over Bowdoin!! Get out of town. Bowdoin goes so hard,” one commenter wrote on NESCAC Barstool’s Instagram post. “Bates over Colby . . . please refer me to whatever you’re smoking,” reads another.


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Some Bates students seemed to take pride in the designation; others were just baffled.

“Obviously they heard about Club 280,” one Bates student sarcastically wrote, referring to the college-sanctioned dance party held semi-regularly in the basement of 280 College St.

Another Bates student, Ellie Strauss, said she knew the graphic couldn’t be right. Growing up in State College, Pennsylvania, home of Penn State’s main campus, Strauss is familiar with the celebrations at larger universities with prominent sports cultures. Bates, she said, doesn’t even come close.

“I can tell you from firsthand experience, after a win over Ohio State or Michigan, the entire downtown streets are flooded with students knocking over lampposts and crowding bars and having huge frat house parties,” she said. “From my experience with the Bates social scene, I don’t think it even comes close to comparing to any of the Penn State parties I’ve witnessed, except maybe the Garcelon party in March of last year.”

Other schools in Maine with more vibrant sports cultures must go harder than Bates, she insisted.

According to the graphic, the data was “compiled by the National Educational Review Dashboard for @5thyear,” purportedly a segment of Barstool Sports focused on college specific content.

However, a quick Google search shows no results for the organization, whose acronym is NERD. Further examination of the graphic shows some other unlikely winners for top party schools in their respective states.

For instance, Brigham Young University was NERD’s pick for top party school in Utah. A religious school run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, students adhere to a strict honor code that prohibits immodest dress and alcohol consumption.

Nor would students have thought the Fashion Institute of Technology would sport the best social scene in New York State. Or, that Oklahoma Baptist College, another religious-affiliated school, would beat out the state’s flagship university.

Barstool is not known for credible content. The blog has a reputation for posting wild, entertaining, sometimes raunchy, stories, videos and self-described “sports smut” targeted at college-age adults. Many students follow the company through social media for the student-submitted content.

However, students have recently turned to NESCAC Barstool for news and updates on NESCAC schools since Amherst suspended classes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March.

On Thursday, the blog admitted to fabricating the graphic in a post on its website. “Funny, funny stuff,” the post reads. “The key to this bit is to just not overdo it. Throw it in there every once in a few months. I think we’re gonna do that and just watch the TikTokers get mad every single time.”

The fake graphic was shared on numerous social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, receiving thousands of views, likes and comments.

Despite learning about the sham results, some Batesies insist Barstool was spot on.

Jackson Elkins, a student at Bates, said the college’s social scene is all around fun and memorable, making it worthy of the top spot.

“It’s debatable for sure because we aren’t as big as UMaine, we don’t embrace fake frat cultures like Colby or Bowdoin, we aren’t as ‘elite’ as Bowdoin I guess,” Elkins said. “But I think we take a lot of aspects from those schools that are best in moderation, thus making us the best party school in Maine, basically by default.”

Still, few will be partying this fall as colleges crack down on large social gatherings due to the ongoing pandemic.

Bates College officials declined to comment for this story Friday.

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