Kevin Hart – Victim of the Most Evil College Football Recruiting Prank of All Time?

Warsh Sports

EDIT: Ok, so now it is known that Kevin Hart was, in fact, lying. But I’m not one for revisionist history, so ill leave this up. At least, in my defense, the first two quotes that I took as facts were simply incorrect – this won’t be a police matter, and I find it false that the student, town, coach and team look equally “not pretty”. The coach looks bad, the town and team didn’t have anything to do with it, and the kid looks like a complete lunatic. You can read the final update here.

While it obviously doesn’t happen often, sometimes I read something and think to myself “I need to share this with the hundreds of people who find this blog each day while working from their living rooms googling things.” This is undoubtedly one of those cases. I read a simple news story on ESPN.com with wild ramifications, if simple logical thought is applied to the facts in the case. Here they are – a high school senior, Kevin Hart, declared today, on national signing day, that he had chosen to play football at Cal over Oregon. Hart told this to a gym full of reporters, fans, and TV people. National signing day is the much hyped end of the college football recruiting process, the first day a player can “sign” a letter of intent to play at the school that hooked him up the most on his visit. However, in the case of Kevin Hart, there was no offer to accept. Both Cal and Oregon say they never recruited Hart. Which sounds like a case of a kid being an idiot, until we get this quote: “They really sold me,” Hart said, according to USA Today. “Cal 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.” Based on this quote, we have 2 possibilities.

1. Kevin Hart made all of this up for attention.

2. People impersonating college coaches pretended to recruit Kevin to these schools, in one of the most ridiculous pranks of all time.

I think we would all assume that number one is very probable. But, shockingly, it doesn’t appear that way. Look at the rest of these quotes:

Quote 1:

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.”

–NOTE that he says “bigger than local”…which I will deduct to mean law enforcement at the State or Federal level. Would a kid making up that he got recruited be a state offense? I’m saying certainly not. People would say “you’re an asshole” and move on – its not a crime to make up shit about yourself. If it was, Rich would be doing consecutive life sentences right now.

Quote 2:

In a blog for the Reno newspaper, reporter Chris Gabel wrote: “I am told the ending is not going to be pretty. Not for the kid, coach, school or town.”

Interesting. So, unless all those entities were involved in a hilarious joke on the local media-as they are the only ones who get embarrassed if hes making it up, thanks to stories like this one – its looking more and more like option number 2 (elaborate prank with Kevin Hart as the victim).

Quote 3:

“Although only in a preliminary stage, the district’s investigation to date has been unable to verify that Kevin Hart was ever offered an athletic scholarship or letter of intent to play football by the University of California, University of Oregon, University of Nevada, Washington University or Oklahoma State University.”

Now, this is where things get ridiculous. Why would this district spokesperson mention three other specific universities unless Kevin Hart thought he got an offer from them? I’m not categorically ruling out that Hart fictionalized all this, simply because hes a random person, and I’ve learned that random people will always be doing ridiculous things, but the evidence simply doesn’t back it up. It really looks like someone or some people impersonated 5 different major college football coaches specifically to mess with this one high school kid. I will be like Geraldo out in those bomb fields with this story, reporting directly from the front lines if anything happens.

– Warsh

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Published in: on February 5, 2008 at 5:53 pm  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is hilarious. I wonder how long it’ll take to get sorted out. I bet this shit runs deep. We should put the guys on The Wire on it, they’d crack this case wide open and bust some perpetrators up.

  2. WOW!

  3. Verrry interrresting! Please follow up on this one.

  4. A real whodunnit.

  5. Don’t worry guys. You know I’m on the case.

  6. Maybe it’s just me, but all the information seems to point to option #1. The police were asked for a comment after they responded to the call and stated that they weren’t sure a crime had been perpetrated. The NCAA is involved because according to the kid’s story, he was loaned money by a recruiter which is a big no-no. The 5 other schools that were mentioned were mentioned because those were the schools that the kid said were recruiting him. Even the story about the loan is shady. Why would he have no evidence of a financial transaction and destroy the contact information on top of that? It seems like a story that spun out of control, but the kid doesn’t have the heart to man up and confess that it was just a lie. I’ve known plenty of kids like this who lied about being recruited to athletic programs, but they didn’t let it get to the point where they would call a press conference, but my understanding is that the assembly and local media circus was arranged by the coach, presumably when he got word from someone else that the kid had all these offers and chose one. Most of the articles seem to indicate that the coach had no involvement in the entire recruiting process, which should have thrown up some red flags.

  7. First of all JP, thanks for swinging by the Trifecta. Now that the formalities are out of the way, I’ll start strongly disagreeing with you. You say the police were asked and said they weren’t sure? Well, its a confusing situation and the police always err on the side of not giving out any information, especially when it appears as though this player, coach and school were all duped. THIS IS INCREDIBLY EMBARRASSING FOR THE COACH. A coach is supposed to be the one who knows the recruiting process, helping a good player from a small school get attention if he warrants it. The coach should be the one who knows whats going on, not getting played by some random guy on the other end of the phone. According to THIS STORY:In a Jan. 23 story in the Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal, Hart – who while possessing good size, isn’t considered a top prospect; he lacks quickness and upper-body strength – said he was considering Oregon, Washington and Illinois and had recently spoken by phone with new Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman. This was Jan. 23rd. Clearly this prank has been ongoing, and there is a good explanation why it was allowed to — the sheer abundance of rumors and misinformation at this time. No one from those schools would ever bother to say “Wait, no, we’re not recruiting Kevin Hart” due to the nature of internet rumors around signing day. It makes perfect sense that the only time true information would come from the colleges would be after. You’re right – we all know that guy who was “definitely going to play D1” or who “already has a scholarship offer” and is now, well, doing something else. Even if a college read the article quoted above, Mike Sherman himself wouldn’t have any reason to say hey wait, thats not true, thinking that Hart was just another boasting kid.

    I’m curious where you got your information about this loan. A google search of “Kevin Hart Loan” provided nothing – are you some kind of inside source? Also, what do you mean by “most articles” Articles I’ve read on ESPN, Deadspin, rivals.com (top recruiting site) and of course noted reputable news source The Trifecta have all indicted there was some foul play. i said at the beginning of my argument that its hard to believe it wouldn’t just be the kid lying, but in this circumstance it really appears as though he got duped.


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