There Are More Important Ethics Stories On The Runway, But This One Gets Priority Because It’s Soooo Stupid…


ESPN, which we can now safely conclude is incompetent as well as being unethical in that very special way the Great Stupid demands, released this statement:

“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.


Pointer: Curmie

12 thoughts on “There Are More Important Ethics Stories On The Runway, But This One Gets Priority Because It’s Soooo Stupid…

  1. A fixed location shouldn’t be required to play inter school sport otherwise home schoolers wouldn’t be able to play. But as for the rest of it; heads should roll.

  2. A page right out of po-slo-jo’s playbook.
    If there was ever an optimal time to commit such a magnificent blunder it is now while the country is reeling because of the horror show in Afghanistan.
    Is this the new normal?

  3. I stumbled upon this game when it was 44-0 for about five minutes, and the announcers were talking about William McKinley and his presidential library. McKinley was topical because the game was in Canton near the library. They were really struggling for content and it was funny to watch. Fair bet that McKinley has never been spoken about so much on ESPN.

  4. And while we’re on the topic of ethics, how about the ethics of IMG academy, so called? It’s a branch of the IMG sports agent conglomerate. It started as a factory for producing top tennis players who don’t really attend high school or college anyway if they’re any good. So IMG thought they could open a “high school” for top high school football players from, I was going to say around the country but they probably even have international kids on the team. That way, IMG can get the kids into the best paying colleges and then rep the kids if they become NFL brain fodder for ten percent. The IMG “team” (they should be called “The Ringers”) plays against ordinary high schools (okay, the kind of local football factories that recruit kids from all over their city or county) and wins national championships on a regular basis. Is it ethical to call this a high school and award it mythical high school national championships. Of course not. But IMG rules the roost and Disney and ESPN. These are the kinds of scum bags who run pro sports. Disgusting.

    When I first heard this story I assumed it had been driven by IMG lording it over ESPN. It’s so weird as to be implausible as it’s currently being explained. As it is, if there’s not a better example of incompetence being unethical, I haven’t seen it.

    • This is COTD-worthy. I’d never heard of IMG Academy, but if the dubious Wikipedia is correct (considering no-doubt careful scrubbing by the subject) IMG Academy is only marginally more legit than Bishop Sycamore.

      In fact, I posit that Bishop Sycamore (note the initials) may be the only marginally ethical player is this little passion play. Fraudulent? Yup. Much like the wonderful geniuses who managed to get a whole bunch of complete bullshit published in academic journals.

      Which was unethical, of course. But important, and more ethical than the journals that published the articles.

    • This is pretty much right, and I suspect it was IMG behind getting this game on television. Plus, they scheduled the game, so apparently the ephemeral nature of the “school” they were playing was not that important. After all, getting on TV is what matters, and they have a ton of clout with all the major shoe companies. Last night at BW3’s, I saw what was essentially an hour-long Under Armor infocommercial on ESPNU that featured — you guessed it — a bunch of IMG athletes.

      They may be blaming Paragon (gotta have a scapegoat when your hand is dangling in the cookie jar), but anything more than casual scrutiny is likely to reveal IMG was behind it from beginning to end.

      • The network blamed some production company they’ve hired to put these televised games together. They said the production company should have better vetted Paragon, Maybe just incompetence or plausible deniability but just all around preposterous that this would happen.

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