ESPN issues statement addressing Bishop Sycamore controversy
ESPN was seemingly duped by a high school football program that had no business being on its airwaves over the weekend, and the network has since expressed regret over the situation.
Bishop Sycamore, which is apparently an online-only charter school based in Columbus, Ohio, was dominated by defending high school national champion IMG Academy (Fla.) on ESPN Sunday night. The 58-0 score showed just how overmatched Bishop Sycamore was, despite ESPN somehow being given the impression that the team had several Division I prospects on its roster.
On Monday, ESPN issued the following statement to several media outlets:
“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. They have ensured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward.”
Paragon Marketing Group is the firm that arranged the schedule for ESPN’s “Geico High School Football Kickoff” event. It’s obvious that those responsible both with Paragon and ESPN did not do their research on Bishop Sycamore. If they did, they would have learned that the program went 0-6 last season and there is no record of it having existed prior to that. Worse yet, Bishop Sycamore’s game against IMG Academy was its second in three days, as the school also played on Friday night.
ESPN’s own announcers expressed concern for the health and safety of Bishop Sycamore players during Sunday’s game (video here).
The whole ordeal was embarrassing for ESPN, whether it was their marketing partner’s fault or not.