Sports Outside the Beltway

Investigation looks into HS Football player opting for school that didn’t recruit him

What an odd story.

It looked like an American dream come true, but now somebody’s going to experience a nightmare.

Students, television and newsprint reporters packed the gym at Fernley (Nev.) High School to hear offensive lineman Kevin Hart give a verbal commitment to play football at the University of California. He chose Cal over Oregon.

“They really sold me,” Hart said, according to USA Today. “Coach [Jeff] Tedford and I talked a lot, and the fact that the head coach did most of the recruiting of me kind of gave me the real personal experience.”

The only problem … neither Cal nor Oregon recruited Hart.

Now, it’s a “law enforcement investigation,” said Fernley football coach Mark Hodges, according to the newspaper.

“This is involving law enforcement and may involve other departments, other than the NCAA, that are bigger than local,” Hodges told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “I would love to tell you everything I know, but I can’t at this time and I’m not even sure what I know.”

It was unclear whether Hart was duped by persons impersonating recruiters or if he was staging a hoax himself.

In High school I once heard some baseball players bragging they had a teammate thinking he was being scouted by a pro team. I don’t know if it was true or not.

Hart’s story is certainly bizarre. Justin Lawson at the Reno Gazette-Journal writes-

As I see it there are two scenarios that can play out in this one: Someone duped this kid into thinking that he was being recruited by these two schools or we’ve all been duped.

I don’t want to believe the latter because I just can’t see a high school athlete doing that to his coaches, teammates and friends. The first scenario could open up a lot of discussion for everyone from the NCAA down to the NIAA because if someone is impersonating a representative of these schools, then every high school athlete needs to be aware.

I don’t want to believe the second scenario either. Then sometimes a small lie can get out of control. Like in this recent story. In Hart’s case it looks like we’ll have an answer soon.

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