Kevin Hart Talks to ESPN’s OTL About “Going to Cal” Hoax in Exclusive TV Interview
December 31, 2008
On February 1, 2008, five days before National Signing Day, Nevada’s top-rated high school offensive lineman Kevin Hart announced his college choice – California — at a packed Fernley High assembly. Several days later he released a statement confessing to a 10-month hoax, a fantasy that he says, “got out of control.” Sunday’s Outside the Lines (9 a.m. ET ESPN, noon ESPNEWS) speaks with Hart in an exclusive television interview as he, for the first time, explains one of history’s strangest “recruitments.” Tom Friend reports.
While Hart did take unofficial visits to the Universities of Nevada, Oregon and Washington, he was rated as only a potential walk-on and was never offered a scholarship, yet had his parents and coaches believing him, each thinking the other was handling recruiting. Hart was eventually recruited by Feather River College, a junior college in Northeastern California where he has a chance to be starting right guard next season.
From Sunday’s Outside the Lines:
“I didn’t know what the process was for recruiting, and so we thought that the coaches were handling it, the coaches said they thought we were talking with the recruiter.” — Rick Hart, Kevin’s father
“I still don’t know why. Maybe ‘cause I knew I wasn’t going to be what I wanted to be. I didn’t know how to accept that. I didn’t know how other people would accept it.” — Kevin Hart, on perpetrating the hoax
“He didn’t do something that is so terrible that his life should be over at 18. He didn’t assault anyone. He didn’t rob anyone. He got caught up in a bad situation and was dishonest and that’s, again, regrettable, reprehensible, but not, to me anyway, completely unforgivable.” — Tom Simi, Feather River College head football coach
“I’m still not OK. It hasn’t been a year yet. It might not be 10 years until I’m finally OK. But maybe knowing what I did was totally wrong and a horrible thing is a good thing to be reminded of every day. I thought I’d never play again. I thought, you know, I’d be in the gutter somewhere.” — Kevin Hart