Basketball 'Sportswriters' Reveal Hoax After 40 Years

Three college students made up 'Hershberger' award

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 5, 2013 5:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – It sure sounded official. Forty years ago, the National Association of Collegiate Basketball Writers picked the nation's top 15 rookie players and named them to an All-America team. The award got national publicity. Schools boasted of the honor. The only problem is that the NACBW didn't exist; it was an elaborate hoax pulled off by three juniors at William & Mary, and it has remained a secret until now, reports the Wall Street Journal. The men are coming clean, happily.

"Are we proud of this? Oh yeah," says one of them, now in the history department at the University of Florida. "I think it's fun stuff." The trio made up the fake award—named for an equally fake sportswriter they called Leo G. Hershberger—in part to make sure that a player on their school team got the national recognition they felt he deserved. Everyone seems to be taking news of the hoax in good spirits, including that William & Mary player. "I'm sort of flattered," says Mike Arizin, after being informed that his highest athletic honor in college was a fraud. Click for the full story, in which the Journal recounts the hoaxsters' meticulous planning and follow-through. There's even a cameo by Joe Montana, then at Notre Dame.

  (Shutterstock)
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