Sports | August 30, 2021 10:57 am

Was ESPN Tricked Into Putting a Fraudulent High School Football Team on National TV in a Blowout Loss?

Florida's IMG Academy pummeled Ohio school Bishop Sycamore 58-0 on Sunday

The ESPN logo
The ESPN logo on a camera before a football game.
Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty

On Sunday, one of the top-ranked high school football teams in the United States went on national television in the conclusion of the GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff showcase and beat the bag out of their opponent.

The game, being a complete blowout, was not interesting. However, the backstory of how it came to take place might be.

Florida’s IMG Academy, the No. 2 school in the U.S., pummeled Ohio school Bishop Sycamore 58-0 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Notice that Bishop Sycamore doesn’t have a ranking. That’s because, as ESPN announcers Anish Shroff and Tom Luginbill pointed out during the broadcast, the school doesn’t really have any Division I recruits, despite Bishop Sycamore’s claims to the contrary.

“The last thing you want is to have this showcase on national TV,” the announcers said, per Awful Announcing. “The point to finish here is, you look at IMG and this is the most talented prep team in the country. Bishop Sycamore told us they had a number of Division I prospects on their roster, and to be frank, a lot of that, we could not verify. They did not show up in our database, they did not show up in the databases of other recruiting services.  So, okay, that’s what you’re telling us, fine, that’s how we take it in. From what we’ve seen so far, this is not a fair fight, and there’s got to be a point where you’re worried about health and safety … Quite honestly, Bishop Sycamore doesn’t have not only the front-line players, but they don’t have the depth in case something were to happen to their roster with a kid or two here throughout the remaining two quarters of this football game.”

Interesting …

While Bishop Sycamore does have a website, it is fairly devoid of any content, and a GoFundMe post that was created a little more than a week ago and shared by the school’s official Twitter account is also somewhat suspect — and full of grammatical mistakes that likely wouldn’t appear on a big-time program’s page.

“We are Bishop Sycamore a new football program getting established in Columbus Ohio,” per the post. “We play a national schedule which is ranked 4th in the nation. We have gather young men from all over the country in the pursuit of a similar goal. We currently need your assistant with helping these young men achieve their goals and inspire other young men to do the same. It takes a community to raise a child please be that community and help these young men! Please help us with funding team meals, travel expenses and equipment cost.”

Somehow, the school managed to get on national TV despite going 0-6 last season, including a 56-6 season-ending loss to IMG on October 16 of 2020. Last season, Bishop Sycamore scored 42 points and allowed 227. Not good.

After getting some pushback for comments he made about Bishop Sycamore during the broadcast, ESPN’s Shroff doubled down on the notion that the game should not have been played.

Sorry. They had no business being in that game today,” he said on Twitter. “None. I feel bad for the kids. Player health and safety was at risk today. It was uncomfortable for anyone who watched.”

And it never should have been on TV to begin with.