Reports expose Bishop Sycamore program featured on ESPN high school football game
You don’t often hear ESPN announcers questioning a football program featured on one of its broadcasts, but that happened Sunday on the nationally televised IMG Academy vs. Bishop Sycamore high school football game.
The broadcasters admitted on air that the Bishop Sycamore appeared to not have been properly vetted:
“Bishop Sycamore told us they had a number of Division I prospects on their roster. To be frank, a lot of that we could not verify,” one broadcaster said. “They did not show up in our database. They did not show up in the databases of other recruiting services. OK, fine, if 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 (Tom Luginbill) where you’ve got to worry about health and safety.”
That was just the tip of the iceberg. Outlets such as FootballScoop, OutKick, Awful Announcing and The Athletic have looked into Bishop Sycamore, finding many red flags that ESPN somehow missed or overlooked.
Bishop Sycamore is an online-only school based in Ohio but not recognized by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. The program appears to be using fake addresses and playing postgraduate players, some who have even played at the JUCO level according to Awful Announcing. On top of that, OutKick reports that the Bishop Sycamore coach faces an active warrant and civil suits.
This is the listed address of Bishop Sycamore, the school Duncanville is playing on 9/10. It appears to be a duplex. The other address listed on their MaxPreps accounts lists the Franklin University library building as an address. pic.twitter.com/6Zl0KDRbrO
— Texas Football Life (@TXFBLife) August 30, 2021
ESPN is blaming Paragon Marketing for booking the game with the network. ESPN released a statement to Awful Announcing:
“We regret that this happened and have discussed it with Paragon (Marketing), which secured the matchup and handles the majority of our high school event scheduling,” ESPN said. “They have ensured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward.”
Another huge vetting fail is that Bishop Sycamore played a football game on Friday night, exposing its players to severe injury risk playing IMG Academy on Sunday.
The Athletic has dubbed Bishop Sycamore “the Washington Generals” of high school football.
How did the Washington Generals of high school football con ESPN?
— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) August 31, 2021