Alright, this is an insane story on a Sunday night here. Today Bishop Sycamore out of Columbus, Ohio (apparently) played IMG Academy in football on ESPN. We all know IMG Academy, they are a powerhouse in every sport because they are set up that way. as a prep school. Shockingly they aren't the story here. The story here is Bishop Sycamore. I'll be honest, when I saw 'Bishop Sycamore' my first though was wondering if Sycamore High School in Cincinnati changed its name. I've never heard of Bishop Sycamore and despite not growing up in Ohio, I have that weird brain of randomly knowing high schools and where they are and all that shit.
And according to FootballScoop, the entire thing is a lie.
Except, as Anish Shroff and Tom Luginbill explain here, that turned out not to be true.
"Bishop Sycamore told us they had a number of Division I prospects on their roster," Shroff said. "To be frank, a lot of that we could not verify."
Vanishingly little on Sycamore's founding exists on the internet. What appears to be the school's website, BishopSycamore.org, is basically a blog; its most recent post, on May 21, explains how to catch a college recruiter's attention on social media. The website's About Us section is blank.
Entering an address associated with Bishop Sycamore leads you to an office park on Google Earth.
You had announcers LIVE ON AIR straight up worried about the safety of kids. That's how bad this team is and how bad they lied to ESPN about it all.
Sure, getting exposure for your potentially fake school makes sense, I guess. Maybe someone wants to enroll there realizing they can play on ESPN and don't have to go to classes (allegedly). But how does ESPN or Paragon Marketing not do 25 seconds of research here?
Sunday's matchup, along with every game ESPN aired across its weekend-long Geico High School Football Kickoff slate, was apparently arranged by Paragon Marketing Group. From the company's 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."
And if that's not enough, there's even more. Bishop Sycamore apparently played Sto-Rox (shout out Sto-Rox) in Pennsylvania on FRIDAY.
Quick sidenote about Sto-Rox, they were in the same class as me for high school hoops but they were on the West side of the bracket as we had Trinity in our side. This brawl during my sophomore year between the two of them is one of those random memories burned into my mind.
Back to the main story here. Not only did Bishop Sycamore play on Friday and then turn around and play on Sunday - the organizers had no idea they were doing that. Obviously you don't play football games in 48 hour timeframes. (h/t Awful Announcing)
Paragon president Rashid Ghazi told AA his company did not know that Bishop Sycamore played on Friday night, and would have canceled Sunday’s game if they had known that. However, this broadcast of Friday night’s game seems to show Bishop Sycamore players wearing the same numbers and in the alignments we saw Sunday.
Ghazi said his company wishes they’d done more diligence here, but noted that it’s difficult to find opponents willing to play IMG.
Uhh ya think? Think it's pretty safe to say that Bishop Sycamore won't be on TV any time soon. Again, it's 2021. It's pretty tough to get away with lying about things that are easy to find. Hell, you can find recruiting rankings for nearly 2 decades in 15 seconds. Pretty easy to figure out who is on what roster and everything.