This ESPN High School Football Story is Pretty Wild

from the broadcast on ESPN

You see this story about ESPN being duped into broadcasting a high school football game involving a school that nobody has ever heard of?

It’s bonkers. The short version is that this team lied about having a bunch of D1 prospects, got themselves on a national broadcast, and then proceeded to get smoked by IMG Academy, which is more or less a factory for super-talented kids.

Here’s the explanation from For The Win:

IMG Academy’s opponent? A small school named Bishop Sycamore, an online charter school from Ohio. If that school doesn’t ring any bells, you’re not alone here. And yet, Bishop Sycamore played IMG Academy — likely the No. 1 high school team in the country — on ESPN’s main channel on Sunday, and were destroyed 58-0.

How did we get to this point, you ask? Well apparently, Bishop Sycamore lied its way into this game by stating they had D1 prospects (they don’t) and naming players who don’t even go to the school in their press release.

The broadcasters also mentioned their attempts to verify Bishop Sycamore’s story, but could not come up with anything, and ultimately were concerned for the “health and safety” of the players involved… midway through the second quarter.

Oh, and apparently Bishop Sycamore also played a game on Friday night, less than 48 hours before taking on IMG Academy, endangering the health and safety of their players even more.

Bishop Sycamore went 0-6 last year and was outscored by more than 150 points.

The even crazier thing is that the ESPN announcers basically admitted that this school pulled a fast one:

It turns out that ESPN actually has a third party handle scheduling for these high school games. That’s Paragon Marketing Group, and the PMG President said they were not aware Sycamore had played two days prior. ESPN issued a statement explaining that they had spoken with Paragon and took steps to make sure this wouldn’t happen again.

But it’s bananas to think that a school lied their way to national TV on ESPN. Even just double-checking the matchup and doing a little bit of due diligence would have signaled to Paragon and ESPN that something was wrong here.

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