Report: ESPN Duped into Showcasing Bad Ohio High School Football Team Against IMG

Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN

ESPN occasionally focuses on high school football programs that are known for high quality and producing national prospects. Still, even though Ohio’s Bishop Sycamore is definitely not one of them, ESPN aired the school’s game, anyway.

Now, ESPN is claiming that it was duped into airing the school’s game.

The cable sports network has, for instance, aired the games of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The private boarding school is well known for its top-notch sports department that has turned out proficient players and was even named the “nation’s top high school football facility” by MaxPreps.

But Bishop Sycamore has no such accolades to its credit. And ESPN has an explanation for why it was airing a Bishop Sycamore game: it was scammed. Ohio sports reporter Tony Gerdeman noted that ESPN had a message for viewers of its Bishop Sycamore game.

“Bishop Sycamore told us they had a number of Division I prospects on their roster. To be frank, a lot of that we could not verify,” Gerdeman tweeted, adding that ESPN was explaining how it had been “duped” by the school. Gerdeman later deleted that particular tweet but added in another that, “ESPN is spending the rest of this game apologizing for this game and praying for the safety of the Bishop Sycamore players involved.”

Even during the broadcast, color analyst Tom Luginbill was not only saying on the air that the school had “scammed” ESPN into airing its game, but the players were so badly trained that he worried they might get hurt on the field.

Indeed, the Bishop Sycamore High School team has been so bad historically that it only has five wins… in the football program’s entire history. And last year, one of its losing scores was pretty blatant at 227 to 42.

Many have wondered why ESPN just took the word of the “scamming” coaches and didn’t appear to just do any simple journalistic research to learn a bit about the school football program’s history before nationally televising them against one of the nation’s premier programs.

Needless to say, people on Twitter had thoughts:

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