If you’ve watched the nationally televised high school football match between IMG Academy and Bishop Sycamore this weekend, you probably knew a lot about one of the teams. IMG has a number of sports facilities that put quite a number of universities to shame. They’re continuously adding double-digit (yes, double-digit) recruits to power five football programs each year. They are the gold standard for preparatory talent in the country.
However, the last opponent, Bishop Sycamore, does not belong to the best competition in the country. If you’ve never heard of Bishop Sycamore, before this weekend you’ll be like 99.999 percent of everyone else. They were brought to ESPN by Paragon, who was informed by the “school” that they have a dozen D1-caliber football players. It turned out that this was not remotely the case, as extensively discussed on Twitter and by Awful Announcing. ESPN even mentioned in the second quarter that they couldn’t even check the roster or apparently anything else about IMG’s opponent.
The world of high school and college football is no stranger to jokes, from kids holding fake signing ceremonies to schools where they didn’t bid to prank callers acting as coaches offering recruits to towards the infamous Manti Te’o saga that elicited thousands of jokes about her on Twitter with the Bishop Sycamore News. However, this one can take the cake.
Either a semi-detached house or a local library was found as the address for the school. The team had a limited number of jerseys and helmets and launched a GoFundMe to raise $ 20,000 but only $ 200. No one has been able to verify the roster that an ex-player’s parents said had former junior college players on it. Perhaps the most devastating piece is the team that played over the weekend, which means their minimum line-up of around 30 players plays twice in three days.
Many on Twitter and across the sports media landscape have rightly defamed the program. The charade black eyes both ESPN and Paragon, who have obviously come out to say they will no longer be working with this team. More importantly, the players’ health and safety were at risk as they were not only overworked but also severely inferior on the field with two games in three days.
It seems that the only legitimate part of Bishop Sycamore is its acronym.
On the plus side for ESPN, however, the network found a perfect topic for a multi-part 30 for 30 or maybe an E: 60 investigation.