“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.”
What was “this kind of situation”? Oh, just a national sports network televising a high school football game between one of the the top teams in the nation and a fake team fielded by a fake high school. That’s all.
On Sunday, ESPN broadcast a high school football game between featuring Florida’s IMG Academy, one of the top rated teams in the country, and Ohio’s Bishop Sycamore, an obscure high school with a team nobody has written about or paid much attention to. ESPN had been assured by Bishop Sycamore—schools get compensated when their teams’ games are televised– that its football squad was stacked with top players. Uh, no. This was a primetime match-up on ESPN, but nobody there did any due diligence to check on the juggernaut IMG Academy’s competition. IMG won by the heart-pounding score of 58-0. The broadcasters were reduced to telling funny stories and expressing concern that the Bishop Sycamore players were at risk of serious injury.
But wait! There’s more!
It was discovered that Bishop Sycamore had already played a game just two days prior to their match-up with one of the best teams in the country. Many of the Bishop Sycamore players played both offense and defense, and thus had just one day of rest before going back to battle with a vastly superior team..
But that’s not all! Bishop Sycamore is probably not a real school! It is not recognized by the Ohio High School Athletic Association and “does not have a fixed physical location.” The Ohio Education Department records show Bishop Sycamore as a private school with an address at 3599 Chiller Lane, but that’s the location of Resolute Athletic Complex, an indoor sports training facility. (That’s it above. Does that look like a high school to you?) Whatever it is, Bishop Sycamore’s football team included postgraduate players, some of whom have played in junior college games. The coach, Roy Johnson has a suspicious record of legal entanglements, which may include an active arrest warrant.
This week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered state investigators to find out what the hell is going on.
So, toting it all up, ESPN broadcast a game in primetime that included a “high school football team” stocked with players who weren’t in high school, fielded by a school without “a fixed physical location.”
It’s OK though. ESPN promises never to do it again.