The Harvey Langi saga of the summer of 2014 took another strange twist on Wednesday.
Langi is the former 5A football MVP who picked the University of Utah over USC, Stanford and others out of Bingham High and played a year at running back for the Utes before a church mission to Tampa, Fla.
Two and a half weeks ago, ex-BYU player Vai Sikahema reported in the Deseret News that Langi wanted to transfer to BYU and would be immediately eligible to compete for the Cougars because of a loophole in NCAA transfer rules. It wasn’t a huge surprise, because rumors had been flying almost since the day Langi left that there was a good chance he would not be returning to the U.
Since Sikahema’s scoop, local college football reporters, including yours truly, have scrambled to get an interview with Langi, who got off his mission a day or two after the report.
Officials at BYU have declined to confirm or deny whether Langi will be attending BYU this fall, despite the name "Havea Langi" appearing on a BYU student directory. They say they cannot comment on a recruitable athlete until that athlete has actually attended a class at their school. On his bio on Utah’s website, Langi’s full name is listed as Havea Hikuleo Langi.
BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins told me that federal privacy laws prevent her from even acknowledging whether a student has applied at a school or not until said student has attended a class.
A source familiar with the NCAA’s very complicated transfer rules, speaking hypothetically, said a player could still attend a different school than one in which he is enrolled at as long as he doesn’t attend a class at that school.
Wednesday, Doug Kimmel of the recruiting-based website Scout.com, a former graduate assistant at Utah, ran into Langi at a scrimmage at Bingham High, and he posted a photo of Langi on Twitter to prove it. Kimmel then reported that Langi was "visiting California with intentions of checking out some schools. He is testing the water." Kimmel included the hashtags: #Stanford and #USC.
At about the same time, my colleague Matt Piper asked Utah coach Kyle Whittingham about the situation during Pac-12 media days in Hollywood. Whittingham confirmed that he met with Langi last Tuesday (July 15), despite some Twitter reports that the meeting was postponed. Whittingham told Piper that Langi’s decision was still pending.
"Wherever he ultimately decides to go, we wish him well," Whittingham told Piper.
Four hours later, Kimmel tweeted out: "From Harvey Langi’s Mom: "Harvey will be going to BYU this fall. He will be attending practice at BYU a week from today."
Done deal, right? Well, not exactly, unless I'm being played in all this.
When I couldn’t reach her by cell phone, I sent Harvey’s mom, Kalesita, a text message on Wednesday asking her to confirm Kimmel’s report.
"No that’s not the truth," she wrote, not mentioning whether she talked to Kimmel or not and probably not realizing that her son had ran into Kimmel at the scrimmage earlier in the day.
"[Harvey] will make his decision on Thursday next week when he gets back from Cali," she concluded.
When I asked Mrs. Langi via text message for an opportunity to talk to Harvey to try and clear everything up, she wrote back saying Harvey is not going to talk to reporters because "he’s been hurt a lot from everything" that has transpired since the Sikahema article.
So, how is this ordeal going to end? I have no idea. I have a hunch that it might not be known until camps begin next month.
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