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Was someone impersonating Tedford? Guy commits to school who didn't recruit him.


SacFalcFan
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When offensive lineman Kevin Hart of Fernley, Nev., announced his commitment to California last Friday, he did so in front of a packed school gymnasium. Two local TV stations showed up to film the event as he prepared to become the first Fernley athlete to receive a full scholarship to a Division I school directly out of high school.

"They really sold me," Hart said. "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.

But it appears that Hart, pictured above with Fernley coach Mark Hodges at Friday's ceremony, was the victim of a prank. Somebody, it appears, has been impersonating Tedford. There never was a scholarship offer let alone any official contact from the Golden Bears.

Hodges, who has been a coach for more than 20 years, now says the matter is a "law enforcement investigation."

Oregon was another so-called finalist for Hart, and somebody appears to have been impersonating an Oregon representative as well. An official from Oregon confirmed Hart was not being recruited. The validity of Hart's other finalists Nevada, Illinois and Oklahoma State remain in question.

****** UPDATE **************************

Recruiter allegedly involved in Hart case

The Lyon County Sheriff's Department acknowledged late Tuesday a third party was allegedly involved in the recruiting gone bad of Fernley offensive lineman Kevin Hart.

Hart claims, in a report taken Saturday by the LCSD, that a Kevin Riley falsely represented himself as a recruiter -- a middle man to big-time college football programs -- and led the 6-foot-5, 290-pounder and his family to believe there were scholarship offers available when there were none.

Obtaining money with a false pretense is the charge on the report at this time, said Deputy Dan Lynch, who took the report. Finding Riley could be difficult, though.

"It's an ongoing investigation but we have no suspect at this point and no info to identify a suspect," Lynch said.

Lynch spent 1 1/2 hours Saturday taking statements from Hart and Fernley coach Mark Hodges at the school, a day after Hart verbally committed to California Berkeley during a momentous school assembly that had Hart's father, Richard, holding back tears.

The purported recruiter coincidentally has the same name as a Cal redshirt freshman quarterback, but the sheriff's department does not know of a connection between the Cal quarterback and the recruiter.

Lynch declined to say how much money the Hart family paid Riley, or how the purported recruiter kept in contact with Hart and Hodges.

Hart said at the announcement ceremony Friday that he talked many times with Cal head coach Jeff Tedford and that "personal experience" led to his decision to choose the Golden Bears over Oregon.

But it appears he and his family were misled by Riley. The RGJ reported on Monday that Hart, a two-star prospect

according to rivals.com, was never recruited by either Cal or Oregon.

The NCAA continues to keep an eye on the situation, but may not have any jurisdiction over it.

"Our net covers the prospective athlete and the (universities)," said spokeswoman Stacey Osburn, who said her office has received an abundance of calls on the matter. "A third party wouldn't fall under our rules."

Also Tuesday, the universities once thought to have recruited Hart were cleared of any involvement by the Lyon County School District.

The exculpating of Cal, Oregon, Nevada, Oklahoma State and Washington on the eve of National Signing Day was the only significant piece of information to come out of a statement released by the district, which has been conducting an internal investigation of the circumstances that led Hart to announce he was heading to Cal.

"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," read the statement, which was issued by LCSD superintendent Nat Lommori and assistant superintendent Teri White.

The news came less than 24 hours before recruits around the country will sign their letters of intent, today, in what has become one of the biggest days of the year in college football.

"The district understands the importance of the National Letter of Intent signing date (today) to these fine institutions and their football programs and issues this statement in order to clear up any concerns prospective recruits to those universities might have as a result of the events that have unfolded at Fernley High School since last Friday," the statement said.

"The district will continue it's investigation into these serious allegations and will provide additional details, to the extent it is permitted to do so by law, in the future."

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