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By now you’ve heard of Bishop Sycamore, the maybe-real, maybe-fake, high school at the center of one of the biggest American sports stories of the year. But prior to Sunday, pretty much nobody had heard of the Ohio online-only charter school.
That all changed Sunday, when ESPN aired a high school football game between Florida’s powerhouse IMG Academy and the now infamous Bishop Sycamore, whose 58-0 loss—and the way it played out on national television—raised serious questions about the team’s legitimacy.
“Bishop Sycamore told us they had a number of Division I prospects on their roster,” broadcaster Anish Shroff said during the game. “To be frank, a lot of that we could not verify.”
It was a bad look for ESPN, who released a statement putting the onus on a company called Paragon Marketing Group, who the network said was responsible for pitting the two teams against one another. In the days that followed, more stories about the mysterious Bishop Sycamore have emerged, painting a picture of a virtually nonexistent school with a barebones football program run by a cast of shady characters with questionable pasts. It’s no wonder social media has been ablaze with incredulous tweets, hilarious memes, and of course, a whole lot of questions.
Let’s take a look at how we got here, shall we?