The story of Kevin Hart

10 03 2009

We constantly tell you that it’s important to know and understand the recruiting process. We say we believe that knowledge is power and that the more you know now, the more (and better) options you’ll have later when it’s time to make the big decisions.

Here’s a story about a football prospect from a small town in Nevada who was being recruited by several Division I schools. He went to several camps to get his name out, sent film to schools of interest, got on some mailing lists, had some phone calls with coaches, and took some official visits. Five days before National Signing Day last year, he announced his college decision before a packed assembly at his school.

Nothing uncommon about that, right? Well, here’s the kicker…

The guy, Kevin Hart, was “a borderline prospect who never took school seriously, who had a D average, and who never took his SATs.” Okay. What’s the problem with that? Well, several things (recall our lecture on the importance of academics). But perhaps the biggest surprise is that Kevin was never really offered by any schools. In fact, he was barely even recruited by them, if at all. He made the whole thing up – a 10-month hoax he crafted near the end of his junior year when he realized that his goal of playing Division I football might not happen as he had hoped and planned.

The fallout from this whole episode was a lot of embarrassment and shame for Kevin, his family, his friends, his coaches, and his school. Not only that, but broken relationships, resignations, lawsuits, depression, and therapy followed. Pretty messy.

There are certainly a lot of speculations we could make about this whole scenario, but there are a few things that we know for certain based on a feature from ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” Here they are:

  1. The coaches and parents had no idea how the recruiting process worked, and therefore had a hard time distinguishing fact from fiction.
  2. Each side thought the other was handling things, so neither side got involved.

Here’s what Kevin’s dad had to say after the fact: “We didn’t know what the process was for recruiting and so we thought the coaches were handling it and the coaches thought that we were talking to the recruiters.” Now, we’re not saying that this is a common occurrence. In fact, we’ve never heard of anything like this happening before. What we are saying is that it’s important to not only understand the recruiting process, but also for each side – athlete, parent, and coach – to be on the same page. The student-athlete should lead this effort. Like Kevin, take the process into your own hands. But unlike Kevin, be sure to tell the truth along the way. It always comes out in the end.

To check out the whole interview, click here.

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