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Was ESPN scammed by a fake high school?

Bishop Sycamore’s appearance on television – and actual existence – has come under scrutiny. It also raises questions about the rise of high school sports.

Back when I was a speedy but numb-footed backup striker on the St Ignatius varsity team, media exposure meant the Chicago Tribune occasionally printing our score in their sports pages – major ink for a striving school team in the late 90s. It wasn’t until I left the big city for the hinterlands of Missouri that I got hip to the far loftier pretensions of high school sports across much of the rest of America.

The first time I was dispatched to cover a high school basketball game, with a request from my University of Missouri sports editor to interview the top scorer, it took everything in me to hold back from replying: “About what? His favorite color Gatorade?” As a naïf reporter, I marveled at how the newsroom fax machine was often jammed with results not from the NFL or the NBA but high schools. It was much the same when I joined Sports Illustrated and saw the reams of submissions to Faces in the Crowd, a section dedicated to the achievements of everyday sports people – the bulk of them under 18. And with every magazine story, Netflix doc or prospect guide that describes a high school athlete like a luxury commodity rather than a teenager it seems the line separating the amateurs from the pros goes from barely noticed to completely missed… read more >

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