This is one of the most bizarre high school athletics stories I can ever recall.
Last Friday, Sto-Rox played a team believed to be located in Ohio names Bishop Sycamore. I don't think anyone thought that much of it other than the fact that both teams wore black uniforms which was SUPER confusing. Here's a recap of the game straight from Trib HSSN.
It's what happened a few days later that really got people confused. Bishop Sycamore - an alleged online charter school found itself on ESPN facing off in a nationally televised game against arguably the most powerful high school team in the country, IMG Academy. IMG is used to blowing out teams that are simply no match for their talented roster, but not long after kickoff many people realized that this game was MUCH more than just a mismatch. ESPN's own announcers started to GO IN on the whole situation, saying that they could not verify the legitimacy of the Bishop Sycamore football team or even the school. They admitted that they were lied to. They were told that Bishop Sycamore had a ton of D1 football prospects and clearly that wasn't true. Ultimately the announcers were worried about the safety of the players on the field who were clearly much less skilled. Here's the clip
Once this happened more people started digging around on the legitimacy of the program and the school, and what has been found in the days since is pretty wild! First and foremost, there has NEVER been a Bishop named Sycamore, which is kinda how these schools get named right?? Apparently their website is just a blog page, and their address links to some random business park. Not to mention that their coach apparently has active arrest warrants and the team doesn't even have complete and matching uniforms and equipment. Former players are now getting interviewed and they are saying that the coaches even created fake brochures showing a school that doesn't exist and was giving them tours of an athletic facility that wasn't even theirs! They also told these kids that they were going to be featured on a Netflix show. Check out some of these tweets exposing the school.
I mean we should have known how fraudulent these guys were the minute they walked out of the tunnel. Look at this group of players. That doesn't even look like a good team at any level. I bet half of them had to take PTO to go play this game lol.
These are just SOME of the things that have been revealed about this whole situation. So we have a team full of potentially 18 and 19 year olds with fake profiles and fake college offers playing for an online school that might not exist. They played 2 games in 3 days which is a HUGE no no in high school athletics and they are apparently supposed to play games in different states all year long. HOW IN THE WORLD DOES THIS HAPPEN. I mean don't get me wrong it's hilarious. These con men legitimately created a fake team and not only got to schedule games against big time opponents, they LIED to ESPN to get on National TV and made it look EASY. That's no simple task.
For FULL details on this story, you NEED to take a look at this awesome reporting from Awful Announcing. They have every detail you need and it's a MUST READ.
Shout out to Sto-Rox for taking down this powerhouse and man it will be interesting to see how this whole thing plays out. Twitter was created for content like this.