Hoax or fantastic tale?
Think of the strangest recruiting story you can remember. Got it? It's about to get topped.
"[Cal] coach [
Several hours later, BearTerritory.net, a Rivals.com site that covers Cal sports, reported that no scholarship had been offered and that no one on the Cal coaching staff had been in contact with Hart or Fernley coach
Is it possible someone pulled off an elaborate hoax and made Hart believe he was being recruited when he wasn't? It's easy to guess that Hart invented his recruitment, but if he did, why would he hold a press conference and risk the potential embarrassment of being exposed? That part doesn't make sense.
A little easier to understand is how a player and a family might not have understood how the recruiting process works. A player offered a scholarship would have received volumes of mail from the school. He also would have received a visit from an assistant coach and probably the head coach. School officials would have ensured the player sent his transcript and test scores to the NCAA Clearinghouse for examination. These things are obvious to those who follow college football passionately, but not necessarily to those who don't.
If it was a hoax or practical joke, Hart may not have legal recourse. Lyon County Sheriff's Department Capt.
"I can't see how we would be involved, because I don't know what crime would have been committed," VanDalinda said. "Either someone is impersonating a recruiter or a fantastic story has been told."
In case you haven't noticed, my mailbag submission form went live last week. Naturally,
I'm sure, in the course of doing this job, I will write stories that anger fans of many schools. That's the nature of the business. Unfortunately, I didn't intend to do it with the story I wrote Friday comparing the negative recruiting in college football with the negative campaigning in the presidential race. In the story, I compared SEC coaches' annual trashing of one another's programs to the sniping between the candidates for the Democratic nomination. I pointed to an example where a little negativity worked and Alabama coach
Rob's was one of the nicer e-mails. But he makes a valid point. I should have cited other examples, like this one. Last year, LSU signee
Now, Florida fans can send me nasty e-mails. That's OK. I'm used to those. Before I came to SI.com, I covered the Gators for
Still, I don't think Gators, Trojans, Buckeyes or Mountaineers fans can top the Tide when it comes to sheer venom. My new favorite angry reader e-mail comes from