Status: True. Make an offer!
Back in December 2003 media outlets including ESPN
and the San Diego Union Tribune
ran a story about Purdue signing the wrong Jason Smith to a basketball scholarship. Due to a paperwork mix-up, Purdue had apparently given the scholarship to 5'6" Jason Smith computer geek, instead of 6'6" Jason Smith point guard. (Both Smiths attended the same school.) The story, it turned out, wasn't true. It was the fictional work of Josh Whicker who had posted it
on his website, hoosiergazette.com
, along with a warning that his site was an inaccurate news source. The media, in typical fashion, didn't heed this warning and reported the story as fact anyway.
Josh (who went on to pen some other brilliant hoaxes
) got a lot of publicity out of the Purdue basketball hoax, but not any money. (And since he works as a school teacher, I'm sure he could use some money... Teachers are never paid enough.) Now, with some luck, that may change. He writes on his site today
Over the past couple of years I have been contacted now and then by writers in Hollywood interested in possibly buying the rights to the story but received no serious interest until today when I received both good and bad news. The good news is a production company made me an offer for the story rights; the bad news is the sum they are offering is quite a bit lower than I expected--after paying an agent and taxes the initial sum for the option rights wouldn't even cover my costs to play semi-pro football this summer. Now, I am not a greedy person, but know this story would make one helluva movie (well, at least better than Snakes on a Plane) in the right hands and is worth more than I have been offered. If anyone out there is interested in the rights, make me an offer and maybe we can work something out.
So if there are any Hollywood types out there reading this, this is your chance to make an offer. (Though I have to add, what's up with the comment about Snakes on a Plane, Josh? I'm looking forward to seeing that!)