A possibly “fake” high school duped their way into getting into a televised ESPN game against one of the best high school football teams in the country.
The game was the grand finale of ESPN’s high school football kickoff. The Hall of Fame Classic at Canton’s Hall of Stadium and featured defending national champion, IMG Academy, and an online-only prep school… that seems to only exist for football and went 0-6 last season.
Bishop Sycamore lost to IMG Academy on Sunday by a score of 58-0, but it was early into the game when ESPN announcers noticed something was amiss. In the tweet below, you can hear their concern over player safety as the teams were clearly mismatched. The announcers even spoke of not being able to verify the school’s claims about its athletes.
ESPN’s commendations WENT IN on Bishop Sycamore 💀 pic.twitter.com/RCJv46gOA3
— Kirk Barton (@kirk_barton) August 29, 2021
Bishop Sycamore’s website appears to be an incomplete blog with blank pages in the About Us, Schedule, and Staff sections. The most prominent post, “Recruiting 101,” instructs players on how to create highlight videos.
“This is what your HUDL Highlight video should include on the 1st ten plays. I don’t care how long it is but make sure all the plays are worthy to be there. This is your recruiting card so it should show your best plays only! “
Other media outlets discovered footage that appears to show Bishop Sycamore playing a football game less than 48 hours before their game on Sunday. Bishop Sycamore lost that game as well.
The game was organized by Paragon Marketing Group which states on its website:
“Paragon works with ESPN programming to select the top regular season football and basketball games in the country, typically airing around 25 games annually. We coordinate the schedules, sell/integrate sponsorships and manage event logistics on-site.”
— IMG Academy Football (@IMGAFootball) August 29, 2021