When Bishop Sycamore took the field in Canton on Sunday to face IMG Academy, ESPN’s announcers thought they’d be calling a game between two elite high school football teams.
It did not take long for it to become clear that a type of teams wasn’t what it said it was.
Bishop Sycamore — which lists Columbus as its location, although there’s no address on the website, and the “About Us” and “Employees” pages on the site are clean — was overmatched from the beginning as it took on the No. 1 team in the country.
The sport quickly caught national attention as it was broadcast on ESPN’s primary channel. Social media was aflame with questions about how Bishop Sycamore came to be scheduled for the game when it clearly was not fit to be playing against a team of IMG’s caliber.
ESPN announcer: This is not a fair fight
Halfway by means of the second quarter, as Bishop Sycamore trailed 30-0, commentator Anish Shroff acknowledged that ESPN hadn’t been able to find proof to help Bishop Sycamore’s claims that they introduced a roster laden with Division I talent.
“Bishop Sycamore advised us they’d a lot of Division I prospects on their roster, and to be frank, a number of that, we couldn’t confirm,” Shroff said. “They didn’t present up in our database, they didn’t present up within the databases of different recruiting companies. So, OK, that’s what you’re telling us, fine, that’s how we take it in. From what we’ve seen up to now, this is not fair combat, and there’s acquired to be a degree the place you’re anxious about health and security.”
This is what happens when ESPN gets duped into airing a high school football game between the most talented team in the country and an online charter school nobody has heard of, went 0-6 last year, and lied about its roster to get on TV. pic.twitter.com/QUwM8BQKiY
— Ben Koo (@bkoo) August 29, 2021
After the sport, in which IMG received 58-0, Shroff responded to comments on Twitter that Bishop Sycamore was the one college in Ohio keen to play IMG.
“Sorry,” Shroff wrote. “They’d no enterprise being in that recreation at present. None. I really feel dangerous for the kids. Participant health and security were at risk at present. It was uncomfortable for anybody who watched.”
ESPN itself did not schedule the sport, which was a part of the GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff. Paragon Advertising Group took care of finding matchups and offering them to ESPN.