Not a ‘Hart-warming’ story
A Fernley High football player admitted Wednesday that he lied about being recruited by the University of California and other major Division I programs.
Kevin Hart, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound all-league and all-state guard for the Vaqueros, met with the Lyon County School District administration. As a result of the meeting, the school district released a statement.
“I wanted to play D-1 ball more than anything,” stated Hart. “When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I made up what I wanted to be reality. I am sorry for disappointing and embarrassing my family, coaches, Fernley High School, the involved universities and reporters covering the story.”
Lyon County sheriff’s detective Lt. Rob Hall received the case Wednesday morning. By late afternoon, he was relieved to hear of Hart’s confession.
“What I am intending to do is request Kevin sit down with me,” Hall said, adding he wants to know more details of Hart’s web of deceit.
From there, Hall said he will write a report and forward it to the district attorney.
“The district attorney will see if charges will be filed,” Hall said.
Hall said Hart’s confession has saved the sheriff’s department many man-hours.
“Based on the direction of the investigation, we would have needed at least three weeks to cover all the information,” Hall said.
Deputies had taken an initial report on Saturday from Hart. The Fernley lineman said someone by the name of Kevin Riley acted as a middleman in the recruiting process. According to the report, Hart told a deputy the recruiter told the Fernley student there were scholarship offers available to the all-league player.
If the investigation had occurred, Hall said, detectives would have reviewed the allegations and tried to corroborate as much information as possible among those involved. Hall said detectives were prepared to examine whether money changed hands between Riley and Hart.
Hart announced his intent to play for the University of California’s Golden Bears at a school assembly on Friday. He also mentioned other universities had recruited him, including Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Oklahoma State. Representatives from each school’s athletic department deny that Hart was ever actively recruited by them.
On Wednesday, Texas A&M and Illinois also denied offering Hart any type of full-ride scholarship.
“He was not on any recruiting lists,” said Alan Cannon, Texas A&M’s associate athletic director for media relations. “Our compliance office said they have no record of phone calls made to this individual.”
Cannon said universities usually recruit individuals who will be an asset to their programs. Cannon cited how one local player, Mark Dodge of Yerington, was a a good fit when he played for the Aggies during the past two years.
“Because of our military leadership background and history, and his military experience, he was a good fit,” Cannon said.
Illinois never recruited Hart either.
“Never heard of him,” said Kent Brown, assistant athletic director for media. “We did not recruit this young man, and he was never in our database.”
Chad Hartley, who covers football for the University of Nevada’s Media Services, said coaches had looked at Hart, but he couldn’t say if the football program offered anything to the Fernley player.
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“Let Them Play,” rallies are taking place across California with a mission to bring back high school and youth sports.