ESPN was duped by a shady high school football team, conning the network into a televised weekend matchup between one of the highest-ranked high school teams in our country.
ESPN's own announcers thought something was up when Columbus, Ohio-area Bishop Sycamore's high school team was getting pummeled by Florida’s IMG Academy, a school known for its outstanding football program. The score? 58 to 0!
ESPN thought Bishop Sycamore was going to be a fair match to IMG - but it turns out the school - an alleged "online charter school" - lied its way into the game by claiming to have several D1 players on the roster.
It gets better; SBNation.com says Bishop Sycamore's website "has a blank page in its 'about us' section, makes zero mention of education whatsoever," and has a blog, which is basically a fluff piece to get the attention of recruiters. It's not even listed with the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Oh and the team's coach has an active arrest warrant!
ESPN is pointing fingers at the company that booked Saturday's game, Paragon Marketing, writing "We regret that this happened and have discussed it with Paragon, which secured the matchup and handles the majority of our high school event scheduling. They have ensured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward."
High school athletic officials around the country have criticized this whole situation, pointing out that the kids on Bishop Sycamore's team could have gotten seriously injured playing against a team it wasn't ready for.