ESPN may have gotten played by a high school football team.
On Sunday, ESPN aired a high school football game between Florida’s IMG Academy and Ohio’s Bishop Sycamore. Anyone who watched the game could see as plain as day that IMG Academy is good, and Bishop Sycamore is bad. Like, really bad.
While we’ve seen mismatched opponents square off in nationally televised games before, this was something different entirely. IMG are defending national champs and consistently one of the best teams in the country. Apparently ESPN was under the impression that Bishop’s program was also stacked with top recruits.
That clearly wasn’t the case. Bishop was so clearly outmatched, and ended up getting torched 58-0. But what makes this story even more insane is the way the game’s announcers react in real time when they realize that they’ve been had. In fact, they genuinely seem concerned for the safety of the Bishop players, who as they put it, were not engaged in a “fair fight.”
They also admitted live on the air that they had been misled by Bishop, and didn’t due do diligence to verify that what they had been told was true. “Bishop Sycamore told us they had a number of Division I prospects on their roster,” broadcaster Anif Shroff said. “To be frank, a lot of that we could not verify.” He then apologized and elaborated on Twitter:
To make matters worse, Bishop Sycamore might not even be a real high school. As FootballScoop points out, it appears to be an online-only charter school with a website that resembles a blog. The team went 0-6 last season, and was routinely blown out. With all this information readily available online, it’s unclear why or how ESPN agreed to air the game in the first place.
We have so many questions — but we’re glad no one got hurt!
ESPN’s commendations WENT IN on Bishop Sycamore ? pic.twitter.com/RCJv46gOA3
— Kirk Barton (@kirk_barton) August 29, 2021