Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Police probing whether third party duped would-be recruit
RENO, Nev. -- Lyon County sheriff's detectives were trying
Wednesday to corroborate claims by a Fernley High School football
player who said he paid a man who duped him into believing he was
recruited by a Division I collegiate program.
"We do have a report of some sort of a recruiting deal with
Kevin Hart," Lt. Rob Hall said. "There's a lot of facts that
we're trying to run down to corroborate what he's telling us."
Hall said Hart, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman, alleges
he paid someone money, though the detective wouldn't say how much.
Hart spoke with deputies Saturday, a day after he announced at a
school assembly and a press conference that he would sign with
At the announcement ceremony on Friday, Hart, with Fernley coach
Mark Hodges at his side, said he talked Cal head coach Jeff Tedford
many times, and that "personal experience" led to his decision to
choose the Golden Bears over Oregon, the Reno Gazette-Journal
But the announcement was questioned almost immediately, and on
Monday officials with California and University of Oregon said Hart
was never recruited by their programs.
Hall said he received the report of Hart's interview with
deputies on Wednesday.
"Nothing has been corroborated," he said, adding, "There are
some things that appear to be inconsistent with how the
[recruiting] process works."
Hall said Hart claimed the alleged recruiter was named Kevin
Riley, and that he believed he was from Las Vegas.
Hart, however, was "unable to provide any phone numbers,
addresses," or other contact information for the purported
recruiter, Hall said.
Lyon County detectives intended to contact Las Vegas police, to
see if their fraud unit was aware of any similar instances.
"It would seem kind of odd if there wasn't," Hall said, noting
that to pull off such a scam, someone "would be pretty
knowledgeable, pretty smooth," and "would probably have done it
Hall stressed that the investigation was in the early stages.
"We're not prepared to say it's true, it's untrue," he said.
"We're still evaluating if any of these actions took place, and if
so where was it committed and by whom."
On Tuesday, Lyon County School District administrators said an
internal investigation showed that none of the universities once
thought to have pursued Hart -- including Nevada, Washington and
Oklahoma State -- were involved.
Superintendent Nat Lommori and Assistant Superintendent Teri
White, in issuing the statement the day before recruits across the
country sign letters of intent to play for college programs, said
they wanted to relieve concerns prospective recruits to those
schools might have because of the Hart matter.