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ESPN Duped By Seemingly Fake High School

Bishop Sycamore, who played IMG Academy on ESPN over the weekend, has found itself in a slew of controversy over its legitimacy.

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If you watched this weekend’s nationally televised high school football matchup between IMG Academy and Bishop Sycamore, you likely knew a lot about one of the teams. IMG boasts a collection of athletic facilities that put quite a number of universities to shame. They continually put double-digit (yes, double-digit) recruits into Power Five football programs every year. They’re the gold standard of prep talent in the country.

The best competition in the country, however, does not include their last opponent, Bishop Sycamore. If you have not heard of Bishop Sycamore, then you are like 99.999 percent of everyone else before this weekend. They were brought to ESPN by Paragon, who was informed by the “school” they had a dozen D1-caliber football players. Turns out, that was not remotely the case, as discussed at-length on Twitter and further in-depth by Awful Announcing. ESPN even mentioned in the second quarter that they couldn’t even verify the roster or seemingly anything else about IMG’s opponent.

The world of high school and college football is no stranger to hoaxes, from kids holding fake signing ceremonies to schools they did not hold offers to prank callers acting as coaches offering recruits to the infamous Manti Te’o saga which has elicited thousands of jokes on Twitter with the Bishop Sycamore news. This one may take the cake, however.

Addresses for the school were found to be either a duplex home or a local library. The team had limited jerseys and helmets, putting out a GoFundMe to raise $20,000 but raised just $200. No one was able to verify the roster, which according to an ex-player’s parent has former junior college players on it. Maybe the most-damning piece is the team already played on the weekend, meaning its minimal roster of 30 or so players play twice in a matter of three days.

Many on Twitter and across the sports media landscape have cast aspersions toward the program and rightfully so. The charade puts a black eye on both ESPN and Paragon, who have obviously come out to say they will not work with that team anymore. More importantly, it put players’ health and safety at risk as they were not only overworked on the field with two games in three days, but were severely outmatched.

It appears the only legitimate part of Bishop Sycamore is their abbreviation.

On the bright side for ESPN though, the network has found a perfect subject for a multi-part 30 for 30 or perhaps an E:60 investigation.

Sports TV News

Apple Has Up To $200 Billion For Live Sports

“NFL Sunday Ticket is among the big players that could be up for purchase, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.”

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It’s been an ongoing rumor that Apple is looking to get into the live sports realm, and it appears that’s getting closer to becoming a reality.

MacRumors on Monday reported a recent investor note sent out by the tech giant indicates the company is itching to spend a chunk of its $200 billion on its balance sheet on live sports.

NFL Sunday Ticket is among the big players that could be up for purchase, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. NASCAR and the NBA also potential areas of interest, in addition to college sports offerings from the Big Ten, Pac 12, Big East and Big 12.

Apple TV+ currently doesn’t have any live TV programming offered, and with the focus on original programming, the service could bring in an influx of new subscribers if it managed to land a top-tier product.

MacRumors also noted that Apple is in talks with Major League Baseball to potentially have rights to games. With baseball in a lockout, there’s no telling where discussions stand.

But at this point, Apple likely feels like they’re a step behind other streaming giants like Amazon. And with cash burning a hole in their wallet, landing Sunday Ticket or the NBA could level the playing field.

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Sports TV News

Kay Adams Reveals Her NFL Network Contract Expires In May

“Adams was complimentary of Burleson before she dropped the tidbit about her own contract.”

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The first “Super Wild Card Weekend” in the NFL has come and gone, and Good Morning Football co-host Kay Adams joined Pat McAfee on Monday afternoon to break down the weekend’s games. But McAfee and company weren’t expecting Adams to hint that she could potentially be on the move by the spring.

Adams and McAfee were talking about Nate Burleson, who recently left Good Morning Football for a role on CBS This Morning. His role has since evolved into Burleson covering more general news than sports. But McAfee asked about NFL Network’s plans for finding a replacement for Burleson.

Adams was complimentary of Burleson before she dropped the tidbit about her own contract.

“My contract is up in May, so we have to work that out and figure that out,” she said. “So the future is all super exciting.”

Adams is a University of Missouri alumna, who got her first start in media in 2011 hosting overnights on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports. That then took her to NBC Sports before she eventually landed on NFL Network.

“I always knew I wanted to do something in media,” she said. “Sports sort of pulled me along, which is great.”

The conversation moved from talking about Aaron Rodgers to what an ideal position for Adams would be. Being as vague as she could be and to not tip her cards, she said she would love to stay in football media.

“It’s no secret the goal is to have the pedigree to have the big boy seat at the table,” she said. “I love visiting stadiums…I like being part of the game day experience and obviously love being on in the morning. We get to set the tone and the agenda for the day.”

McAfee continued to press about her options, and Adams mentioned the rise of sportsbooks, which have recently been on the move in acquiring media personalities, McAfee included.

“It’s a really energizing time right now, that’s all I’ll say,” she said.

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Sports TV News

‘Saturday Night Live’ Spoofs Yao Ming Replacing Shaq on ‘Inside The NBA’

The entire Kings team was out due to COVID, so a replacement squad of fans and arena support took its place.

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Saturday Night Live on YouTube

Most of the headlines surrounding the 2021-22 NBA season thus far have concerned COVID outbreaks and several teams unable to field competitive rosters because of positive tests and close contacts.

This past weekend, Saturday Night Live joked about the NBA’s COVID difficulties with a sketch spoofing TNT’s Inside the NBA covering a horribly one-sided game between the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings. The entire Kings team was out due to COVID, so a replacement squad of fans and arena support staff took its place.

At halftime, Sacramento trailed 268-1. Nets guard James Harden took advantage of the matchup versus Kings equipment manager Dougie McCormick, outscoring his opponent, 83 points to zero.

“In my opinion, the biggest thing to me is that the Kings don’t have any NBA players, whereas the Nets do,” said analyst Charles Barkley (Kenan Thompson).

Check out the sketch below:

The SNL sketch also made fun of broadcasters who have missed on-air assignments due to COVID. James Brown and Tony Romo are among the names who have been sidelined in recent weeks.

In this sketch, it’s Shaquille O’Neal who can’t join the broadcast. Taking his place is former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming (played by Bowen Yang). At 7-foot-6, he’s a mismatch at the Inside the NBA studio desk with Barkley, Ernie Johnson (Alex Moffat), and Kenny Smith (Chris Redd). Ming also isn’t as polished as most professional broadcasters when explaining why the Kings were losing so badly.

“They’re tiny people,” he said, sounding like Lurch from The Addams Family. “Too small.”

Succinct and right to the point! Maybe we need more of that from studio analysts on sports broadcasts.

What this sketch really needed was Ming racing Smith to the giant TV screen in the TNT studio. Unfortunately, Saturday Night Live‘s Studio 8H really isn’t set up for that sort of visual gag. Plus, the sketch would’ve been ruined by Yang having to stand up. Next time, maybe this can be a digital short instead.

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