ESPN’s College GameDay, a beloved sports show, recently faced controversy as it returned several Emmy awards.
It was revealed that fake names were submitted to nominate talent for multiple categories, attempting to circumvent rules that prevented on-air talent from winning awards while appearing on the same program.
The network issued an apology, acknowledging the wrongdoing and disciplining those involved. Notably, Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit, and Lee Corso received awards under fake names.
“Some members of our team were clearly wrong in submitting certain names that may go back to 1997 in Emmy categories where they were not eligible for recognition or statuettes,” the network said in a statement Thursday.
“This was a misguided attempt to recognize on-air individuals who were important members of our production team,” ESPN said in its statement.
The Athletic conducted a review of credit lists for the years “College GameDay” won the Emmy for best weekly show, uncovering several phony names on the lists. While it remains unknown who led the fraud, ESPN executives, including Craig Lazarus, Lee Fitting, and Drew Gallagher, were ruled ineligible from future Emmy participation by NATAS.
The academy found fake credits submitted by ESPN, and the network took responsibility, thoroughly investigated the matter, and took corrective actions once senior management was alerted to the situation.
ESPN has taken steps to address the issue and make ineligible individuals involved in future Emmy award participation.