Being a great athlete is a dream shared by millions, including almost all of the people who committed the biggest hoaxes in the history of sports. If you can’t make it on your own, an athletic hoax might be able to get you closer to your goal than you ever thought possible. From fakes in pro sports to college sports hoaxes, all of these stunts are motivated by one thing: a dream left unfulfilled.
Making it into college athletics, let alone into the pros, is unimaginably difficult. All of these sports conspiracies are from someone who just wanted to experience what that fame and fortune must be like. These aren’t all NFL hoaxes or cheaters (although, a great many of them are) - they’re mostly people who made bad decisions, got in over their heads, and then continued to make bad decisions. College sports athletes who cheat are possibly throwing away a great future, while many of these frauds didn’t exactly have a bright future awaiting them.
So, what happens to the dreamer whose dreams don’t come true? If you’re in on any of these huge sports hoaxes, you fake it 'til you make it… or you don’t, are found out, and then end up on this list.
Rocky Perone Discovers How To Go From Being 36 To 21 - Lie
Sports can be cruel, and you only have a brief period of time to be a great success. At 36, Rich Pohle was cut by the Kansas City Athletics and couldn't get back into baseball; so, he made himself "Rocky Perone," a 21-year-old Australian who came to America for the love of the game. He put as much work into his appearance as he did his game: he shaved three times a day, got facials, a wig, and mudpacks, and was careful about how he drank and ate. Amazingly, the San Diego Padres signed him, and he played one game for their Walla Walla affiliate before the other team's manager recognized him - he was cut the next day. In the game, though, he went one for two with a walk and he stole a base.
Instead Of Paying For Final Four Tickets, These Guys Invented A College
Even in 1963, Final Four tickets were expensive. The NCAA is known to give Final Four tickets to universities, so Len Tyrrell - coach at Fenwick High School in Forest Park, Ill. - came up with the (somewhat) brilliant plan to invent a college, which he named after his favorite pub, "Maguire's." The NCAA believed Tyrrell and gave a two year allotment of Final Four tickets to the "Maguire Jollymen." When the NCAA found out, they were upset, but no one went to jail or anything. Parties are still held to commemorate the time when some guys didn't have to pay to go to a game.
From Baby Saver To Pariah: Josh Shaw
Destined to be a professional football player, USC cornerback Josh Shaw put everything on the line to jump from a second-story balcony to save his nephew. The child was drowning in a pool, and Josh did what he had to do. Miraculously, he only sprained his ankles during his heroic act. However, a police report later came out saying that Shaw had been in an a different incident at the same time the nephew had been saved. Shaw later admitted he'd made the whole thing up, but never did say what happened at the apartment. He was suspended from the team.
Cheating Can Be More Difficult Than Just Competing
In the 1968 Golden Globe round-the-world yacht race, 36-year-old Donald Crowhurst had a plan: he'd sail a small, plywood trimaran. He had no experience, and his boat was frighteningly flimsy, but he convinced all who listened that he was deadly serious.
Shortly into the race, though, he realized his predicament and determined that his only options were to quit the race or probably die sailing. So, he decided to keep his boat in the South Atlantic Ocean while the other boats raced around the world, and then he'd catch up at the end. He fabricated his reports and his logbooks so it looked like he was winning the race. Eventually, the pressure got to him, as he constructed fake log entries that were "often more difficult to complete than real entries due to the celestial navigation research required." His ship was later found abandoned - it's believed he jumped out and drowned.