ESPN is being derided on social media after it televised a high school football game involving a bogus team.
IMG Academy defeated Bishop Sycamore 58-0 on Sunday in a nationally televised game.
Known for annually sending recruits to some of the nation’s top college football programs, IMG Academy was not the problem.
Bishop Sycamore, however, proved to be fraudulent.
Claiming to be from the rabid football state of Ohio with a dozen top prospects on its roster, Bishop Sycamore sports a post office box as its registered address and a physical address listed with a Columbus training facility, The Columbus Dispatch said.
Bishop Sycamore, playing an unheard of second game in three days, apparently went 0-6 last season, scoring 42 points and giving up 227.
Awful Announcing said Bishop Sycamore’s head coach allegedly had an active arrest warrant, and most of the team’s roster were junior-college dropouts.
ESPN blamed the fiasco on Paragon Marketing, which booked the two schools.
"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," ESPN said in a statement. "They have ensured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward."
ESPN commentator Anish Shroff realized something was amiss during the game.
"Bishop Sycamore told us they had a number of Division I prospects on their roster, and to be frank, a lot of that, we could not verify," Shroff said. "They did not show up in our database, they did not show up in the databases of other recruiting services.
"So, OK, that's what you’re telling us, fine, that's how we take it in. From what we’ve seen so far, this is not a fair fight, and there’s got to be a point where you’re worried about health and safety."
Naturally, ESPN became an easy target on social media.
"Bishop Sycamore letting the freshman play," tweeted Tron Madden, whose post included a photo of an octogenarian carrying a football.
"ESPN checking to see if Bishop Sycamore is a real school," tweeted Jordan Strack, who included a meme showing a security guard quickly patting down a fan entering a venue.
"I need a Bishop Sycamore 30 for 30 ASAP. This story is fascinating," Bakari Sellers tweeted.
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