As students streamed out of residence halls to throw snowballs and construct haphazard snowmen late Wednesday night, rumors swirled like the falling flakes in Presidential Courtyard.
"People were screaming, 'Follow Dobbs!'" said sophomore Alex Tyskowski, referring to UT freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs. "And then a presidential court filled with like 300 people cleared in seconds."
What happened next has all the makings of campus legend: hundreds of UT students marching on Shields-Watkins Field to have a snowball fight under the lights of Neyland Stadium.
It is a little-known secret that Neyland – one of the top five largest football stadiums in America – is not exactly impenetrable; freshman John Slota said he got in with the crowds through one of the doors by gate 21.
"Everyone was going wild," he said.
Whether it was Dobbs or some other UT student who led the charge is hard to determine, but Twitter pictures show the beginnings of a melee just after 11 p.m. Doug Kievit, freshman in political science, said he was on the field just minutes before the battle began.
"I hopped a fence," Kievit said, adding that he and his friends left before everyone showed up. "I was kinda pissed. We went back in right as the cops came."
The University of Tennessee Police Department arrived approximately 20 minutes after the students entered the stadium, and Slota said the students scattered back to wherever they had come from.
Not every student got away, as eight UT students were cited for trespassing and two more for underage drinking, according to Vice Chancellor of Communications Margie Nichols.
"Nobody wanted them to get in trouble," Nichols said Thursday afternoon. "We won't know more until we see the reports."
A Twitter user with the handle @utgroundscrew also tweeted an admonishment to the students who had run around on the snow-covered field, saying "This is SOO bad for the grass in the stadium, footsteps turn brown when the snow melts."
Despite the potential damage to the field and two handfuls of issued citations, many student Twitter accounts have expressed admiration, excitement and envy for those who entered the stadium.
"It was inevitable that people would end up there," Tyskowski said. "People will find any reason they can to get on that field."