A high school soccer team successfully lied to get on national TV in a scandal that saw TV commentators turn on their own colleagues.
ESPN broadcast a high school football game Monday morning (AEST) between IMG Academy – an athletic powerhouse that regularly produces NFL, MLB and NBA players – and the unknown Ohio Bishop Sycamore.
It was a 58-0 blowout, but this wasn’t your average high school football game.
During the nationally televised butt-kicking, it became increasingly apparent that the circumstances surrounding the game went far beyond the ordinary.
During the second quarter, when IMG already had a 30-0 lead and made it abundantly clear that Bishop Sycamore didn’t belong on the field with them, ESPN announcers Anish Shroff and Tom Luginbill launched a diatribe against their own network – with some revealing comments about how the game came to be.
“You look at IMG and this is the most talented preparation team in the country,” said Shroff. “Bishop Sycamore told us they had a number of Division I candidates on their list, and to be honest, we couldn’t verify many of them. They were not in our database, they were not in the databases of other recruiting services. So, okay, that’s what you tell us, fine, that’s how we’ll take it. From what we’ve seen so far, this isn’t a fair fight, and there has to be a point where you’re concerned about health and safety.
“I’m already worried about it,” Luginbill said. “I think this could be potentially dangerous given the circumstances and the mismatch we have here. And frankly, Bishop Sycamore not only has the frontline players, but they also don’t have the depth in case something happens to their roster with a kid or two here for the remaining two quarters of this football game.”
You heard that right — Bishop Sycamore apparently told ESPN they had some top candidates on their team, and the network then took them at their word and put them on TV against the best team in the country.
Claims that are not long in coming. None of Ohio’s top 50 prospects in the 2022 or 2023 class goes to Bishop Sycamore, per Rivals. MaxPreps only started recording their wins and losses last season, and since then they have A) had to win one more game and B) scored more than eight points just once in eight tries.
The story gets even weirder. Bishop Sycamore quarterback Josh Jenkins posted a video of his team playing on Friday — just two days before the ESPN game against IMG Academy. Not only did they play against a team that was significantly better than them, they did it with a meager two days of rest.
Stranger still, Bishop Sycamore isn’t even a fully functional high school — it’s an online charter school that isn’t affiliated with the Ohio High School Athletic Association, according to an article in The Independent.
However you slice it, it was extremely dangerous for Bishop Sycamore to be there. Paragon Marketing Group, the schedulers, told Awful Announcing that they were unaware that the team had played just two days before the ESPN game and that they would have canceled the game had they been informed.
So, has Bishop Sycamore lied to everyone and made his way into the national spotlight, risking the health and safety of their players? It sure seems like it.
“Sorry. They had no business in that game today. None,” Shroff tweeted after the game. “I feel sorry for the children. The health and safety of players was at stake today. It was uncomfortable for everyone who watched.”
ESPN shared a statement with The Post after the accident:
“We regret that this has happened and have discussed it with Paragon, who secured the match-up and are handling most of our high school event planning. They have assured us that they will take steps to prevent this sort of thing from happening. situations arise in the future,” the statement said.