When it comes to college football recruiting, there are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes. Illegal deals, illegal benefits, illegal this and illegal that.
But something I find even more despicable and completely embarrassing to those involved are other acts that, while not illegal, are just as tarnishing to the reputations of the individuals and institutions involved.
I've had an occasion recently — far too many occasions, actually — to be deceptively informed by coaches and/or players that a university has offered a scholarship.
Lying about a scholarship offer is about as ridiculous as it gets in this game. When word gets out about the fabrication, that person is tarnished by the institution involved, as well as by anyone in the media who originally believed the claim in the first place.
We as media members are not exactly — read, legally — privy to information regarding scholarship offers to student-athletes. It's easy for us to be duped, so we have to be on guard. It is an NCAA violation for coaches to discuss anything involving a potential recruit.
We have to rely on the word of the high school coaches and players alike. And most of them can be trusted because the ramifications of lying about a scholarship loom large.
Eventually, they will be found out.
Those who offer up fabricated information know who they are and usually when it's learned they have fibbed about a scholarship being offered by a school, they can forget any future consideration from that institution.
That, however, is not where the damage is done. Most college coaches laugh it off. Since it happens so frequently, they don't really have time to concern themselves with the claims of delusional teenage football players or overzealous high school football coaches.
The problem is that once word gets out that a college has offered a scholarship, other colleges tend to follow up with their own offers. Crazy, yes, but many schools do offer scholarships based on whether another school has made the first move.
In today's world of social media, that sort of thing is compounded, because now players don't even have to wait on the media to react to a story. Players and coaches can just post an offer on Twitter or Facebook and suddenly the congratulatory replies are flying in without question.
I won't call out names. People who conjure such nonsense must live with their conscience. Most of these players are condemned to a junior college.
Sometimes, it's the player who is the victim. High school coaches have told players that they have been offered, for whatever reason, only for the player to find out an offer never existed.
Where the coaches and players think the fabrication is going to lead is the baffling question. Nothing good ever comes from it, unless for some reason the player involved is some stud no one knew about who suddenly turns up on the recruiting board for numerous colleges.
Yep, that scenario also occurs, but it's rare.
Usually it's the other way around.
It's just like a player lying about his GPA or his college entrance exam scores. Why lie? The truth will come out.
Don't get me wrong, most coaches are honest and dependable with the best interest of the student-athlete in mind.
And most players don't make up scholarship offers.
But there are enough misleading reports that it makes it difficult sometimes to believe a player who is on the border of an NCAA Division I-A breakthrough.
My first reaction is to always want to be happy for the player.
Sometimes, however, inquiring minds want to know.
In 2008, Kevin Hart announced in a packed Fernley (Nev.) High School gym that he had picked the University of California over Oregon to continue his football playing career. Problem for Hart was that Cal coach Jeff Tedford had never heard of him at the time.
Fast-forward to now. Hart recently signed on to play with Division II Missouri Western after four years at Feather River College in Quincy, Calif. He actually earned first-team All-California junior college honors last season, after sitting out 2009 with an injury and 2010 as an academic casualty. He'll enroll as a junior at Western.
Kevin Hart might say his story has a happy ending. You want to be happy for him. He seems to have paid his dues. At least, perhaps, he's no longer living a lie.
Burns commits to Hurricanes
Maybe it's just me, but did Artie Burns' comments at his press conference announcing his decision to attend the University of Miami seem a little confusing?
Burns, a standout cornerback at Miami Northwestern, as well as one of the top track hurdlers in the country, said that even though LSU is his “dream school,” he's giving up his dream to commit to the Hurricanes.
Burns did not immediately call back after I left a message with the 6-foot, 183-pound former Alabama pledge. He decommitted from his 'Bama commitment amid little fanfare earlier this spring.
Nonetheless, the Hurricanes got the Burns commitment, and that didn't seem to be lost on head coach Al Golden, who threw a nod in the direction of UM's latest conquest at the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro.
When asked about the possible fallout any NCAA sanctions might have in recruiting, Golden said, “I'm not allowed to comment on if we just got what we think is one of the best players in South Florida, if not the best player in South Florida. I think kids understand who we are and they trust what they hear from our team.”
In other words, Golden doesn't think it will have much of an effect if his coaches continue to carry forward the message of “a culture where kids feel loved, feel respected and feel like they're being developed on and off the field,” he said.
I was often asked this spring why I had Winter Park quarterback Asiantii Woulard ranked so low. (He was not in the Sentinel's initial 2013 Florida Top 100). I even had people suggesting that I have some sort of USF hatred.
Anyway, my response on Asiantii and his ranking was that I just wanted to see how he progressed a few games into his senior season. It's his team this year and I wanted to see how he handles it.
Well, he wasn't waiting on me. Asiantii broke out this summer and took over the Orlando Top Recruits Now 7-on-7 team, which recently fared well at the IMG Madden National 7s championships. Then he earned an invite to the Elite 11 Quarterback Challenge finals in California, and on Sunday, was named MVP at the event, which involved 24 of the best quarterbacks in the country.
Following the IMG showing, I moved him into the No. 12 spot in the Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60 and he is also No. 62 in the Sentinel's 2013 Florida Top 100. The only quarterback in the state ranked higher now is Bradenton Manatee's Cord Sandberg. Woulard won't likely pass the defending state champion and Mississippi State commit.
Then again, don't count him out, either.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun