Scratch that Career Option

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Publicity Stunts

Weird Recruiting Saga Comes to Close
by Ryan Canner-O'Mealy
February 7, 2008

Kevin Hart congratulated by his coachBy now you've probably heard the strange-but-true story of Kevin Hart, a football player at Fernley (Fernley, Nev.).

In preparation for yesterday's National Signing Day, Hart held a press conference at his school last Friday to announce he would be signing with California over Oregon. Local television and print reporters came to his announcement, as did the entire Fernley student body.

That's when things got weird.

When contacted by media outlets trying to get some inside info on Hart, both the Cal and Oregon coaches said they had never heard of him. He hadn't been offered a scholarship by either school, and it was clear he wouldn't be going to Cal.

At first, it was unclear whether Hart was an attention-hungry prankster or the victim of an unusually cruel practical joke.

He told police that a recruiter had scammed him and his family into believing Cal, Oregon and others had offered him scholarships. Supposedly, this recruiter had taken money from the Hart family to act as a middleman between Hart and the schools.

But then on Wednesday night, as Signing Day was wrapping up, Hart admitted the whole thing was a hoax. A statement on behalf of Hart read, "I wanted to play D-I ball more than anything. When I realized that wasn't going to happen, I made up what I wanted to be reality."

He could be charged with filing a false police report.