A story posted Tuesday said USC and UCLA had been “implicated” in the most damaging scandal in the history of collegiate sports. Thankfully, they were only two of 58 colleges listed.

UCLA freshman forward Kevon Looney. Photo courtesy of the UCLA Athletics Department
Also: It was a joke.

The Onion was at it again — with an article headlined “NCAA Investigating God For Giving Gifts To Athletes.”

Datelined Indianapolis, where the NCAA is based, the 675-word story said: “Reports indicated that over the past several decades, the Almighty has provided hundreds of players from high-profile Division I football and basketball programs with abundant natural speed, strength, and agility, and both the universities and the players themselves are now said to be facing heavy sanctions and punishments.”

NCAA president Mark Emmert was falsely quoted as saying:

“We take these allegations incredibly seriously and are doing everything in our power to determine the precise nature of God’s relationship with these college athletes. There is mounting evidence that the Lord — in blatant violation of NCAA rules and regulations —bestowed upon these players special and innate athletic abilities that other students never received. … This type of behavior is completely unacceptable and threatens the very integrity of college sports. And the NCAA will hold God fully accountable.”

Other schools named for breaking the God rules included San Diego State, BYU, Arizona and Arizona State.

“These rules are in place not only to maintain the competitive balance of the NCAA, but also to protect the players themselves from being exploited,” Emmert said. “Many of these young men were taking advantage of raw athletic skills as far back as high school and even middle school. God was clearly manipulating these kids from a very young age.”

University of Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione denied any knowledge of Sooners players receiving illegitimate gifts. He also was falsely quoted as saying: “Maybe I was being naïve, but I just thought He was their Heavenly Father and Supreme Ruler. I never thought He was breaking NCAA rules.”

The Onion, which no longer appears in print, concluded: “At press time, NCAA officials had announced an eternal ban on God that will prevent Him from having any association with collegiate sports until the end of time.”

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