Berry Tramel's 10 greatest sports hoaxes
Sports history is littered with notable hoaxes. Here's a look at Berry Tramel's top 10.
Sports history is littered with notable hoaxes. Here are the 10 best I found:
10. Bobby Knight's recruit
In January 1993, to mock recruiting coverage, then-Indiana coach Bob Knight announced on his television show that the Hoosiers had secured a commitment from 6-foot-8 Ivan Renko from Yugoslavia. Most Indiana media figured out the ruse quickly, but some recruiting services didn't. They began including Renko in their rankings.
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9. Price of government bailout
In April 2009, a few months after the Great Recession struck and the U.S. government had begun proceedings to bail out General Motors and Chrysler, Car and Driver Magazine reported that the feds had ordered GM and Chrysler out of NASCAR, if those companies wanted to continue to receive government aid. Talk about your torn priorities for certain demographics.
8. Cricket outrage
To celebrate April Fool's 2009, Australia's Herald Sun newspaper reported that a Chinese company, Mekong Industries, had submitted a multimillion dollar proposal to rename the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. The cricket fans of Melbourne were outraged. They should have detected the hoax, which was fictitiously announced by a fictitious spokeswoman for the fictitious company. Her name was April Fulton.
7. Fish story
In 1978, Dave Heberle of the Erie (Pa.) Times wrote a story about a type of fishing thread so good, it didn't give the fish a sporting chance. The thread had been banned for use in trout fishing, subject to fine. Sporting good stores were besieged by customers. The Erie Times receiver over 500 calls. Heberle was fired.
6. Moldova soccer star
Through assorted blog posts, fake Associated Press reporters and Wikipedia tinkering, a fictitious 16-year-old from Moldova, Masal Bugduv, began climbing the charts of the world's best soccer prospects. Reputable soccer media like Goal.com and the magazine When Saturday Comes both mentioned Bugduv, and in January 2009, the hoax was complete — the Times of London included Bugduv on its list of the world's top 50 soccer prospects. The originator of the hoax remains a mystery.
5. Sabre-rattling draft
By the 11th round of the 1974 National Hockey League draft, Buffalo Sabres general manager George Imlach was weary of the slow-moving process. To spice it up, he drafted Taro Tsujimoto of the Tokyo Katanas from the Japan Hockey League. The league was real. The player and the team were not. In those simpler days, Imlach fielded questions about Tsujimoto for weeks before finally confessing to the hoax.