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The time IU basketball made a man in Iowa $500,000...and he didn’t know it

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No, we’re talking about a former four-star IU point guard target

A mans hand holds US dollar bills against a front of North American house. Photo by: Gonzales Photo/PYMCA/Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Last week, the NCAA Board of Governors announced it supported rule changes to allow student-athletes to receive compensation related to athletics. It’s potentially another step in the movement towards players being able to control their name, image and likeness, and be compensated for it.

But what if we told you that IU basketball has a history of making Midwesterners six figures dating back to at least four decades ago? Let us explain.

Let’s go back in time 38 years to December 1982, just 10 days before Christmas.

Terry Spratt, a 30-year-old living in Davenport, Iowa who worked in production control for John Deere, walked into First Federal Savings & Loan Association to send a money order to his father in Anderson, Indiana, so that his father could buy a book about the history of IU basketball. It’s unclear what book the elder Spratt wanted to purchase but a book titled “The Champs ‘81” was written by Bob Hammel and published by The Bloomington Herald-Telephone and Indiana University Press in 1981.

All Spratt wanted was a $25 money order for the book, a task you could complete today in about seven seconds with Venmo.

But even back then, sending $25 was simple enough, right?

Not quite, apparently, because Spratt walked out of First Federal with a money order worth a lot more than $25. A lot, lot more – 20,0001 times more, in fact. Neither the teller nor Spratt noticed the bank error – at least not right away. Spratt left the building and found a U.S. Postal Service mailbox on the way home, where he dropped off the money order for his father.

“A short time later,” wrote William Ryberg of The Des Moines Register, “as he was putting the carbon copy receipt in his wallet he noticed that the figures appeared to say $500,025 – instead of $25. He took the receipt to work and showed it to his boss for a second opinion.

“And he said, ‘Ya, that’s $500,000,’” Spratt recalled to The Register.

Quad-City Times

It didn’t take long for First Federal to notice the error, either.

“The teller discovered the error in ‘about three minutes,’” First Federal senior administrative officer W.C. Wood told The Register, which reported the teller “unsuccessfully tried to stop Spratt in the parking lot.”

I guess putting up big numbers in a loss and being bad on defense is nothing new for Iowa, folks,,,

Iowa’s offensive efficiency ranked 239 spots (!) higher than its defense in 2018 lmao

W.C. Wood, by the way, was Big Mad, as the kids say. “We don’t think this is at all funny,” he told The Register, after his bank teller pressed six buttons when just two would’ve sufficed.

Spratt got a call after leaving the bank, saying the people there were “really freaked.”

When you make a half-million dollar bank error <<<

Spratt then received three or four more phone calls the following day. But it was too late, the money order was already in the mail to Indiana. Spratt called his father, explained the mistake and told him to mail the money order back as soon as he received it. S̶p̶r̶a̶t̶t̶’̶s̶ ̶f̶a̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶n̶ ̶p̶u̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶m̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶t̶r̶u̶s̶t̶ ̶f̶u̶n̶d̶,̶ ̶k̶n̶o̶w̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶I̶U̶ ̶w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶l̶a̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶n̶e̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶r̶a̶i̶s̶e̶ ̶m̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶#̶P̶A̶Y̶T̶H̶O̶N̶M̶A̶K̶E̶R̶.̶

“It’s something else,” Spratt told The Register, laughing. “I can’t believe it happened to me.”

Like any big basketball fan living in Big Ten country would, Spratt used the first half of his exchange with First Federal to work the officials to try to get a favorable decision in the end. He had recently been charged a $10 service fee for overdrawing his account by $2 and he wanted a make-up call.

“I’m not trying to make this a David and Goliath type deal, but I paid a $10 service charge and I think they should pay a $10 service charge,” Spratt told The Register, later telling the Quad-City Times, “I think I’ll tell them they got $10 for a $2 mistake so I should get at least $10 for their $500,000 mistake.”