ESPN Forced to Return Over 30 Emmy Awards After Using Fake Names, Investigation Reveals

BRISTOL, Conn. — ESPN has returned over 30 Emmy Awards after it was revealed that the network used fake names to win the accolades, according to The Athletic. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) uncovered the scheme, which involved adding fictitious names to the credit list for the outstanding weekly show category on ESPN’s flagship college football program, “College GameDay.”

Until recently, on-air talent was not allowed to be credited in this category to prevent double-dipping. However, ESPN allegedly circumvented this rule by adding fake names to the credits. The scheme apparently lasted from at least 2010 and included awards given to well-known personalities like Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Samantha Ponder, Chris Fowler, and Desmond Howard. There is no evidence that the on-air talents were aware that the awards were improperly obtained.

In response to the revelation, ESPN issued a statement acknowledging the wrongdoing and expressing regret. The network apologized to NATAS for violating guidelines and claimed to have overhauled its submission process to prevent such incidents in the future. ESPN also conducted a thorough investigation and disciplined individuals responsible for the scheme.

NATAS confirmed that ESPN has returned the awards issued to the fictitious recipients. The organization commended ESPN for taking responsibility and initiating corrective measures. It has also strengthened its verification process in 2022 to prevent similar incidents.

The incident highlights the importance of integrity in award systems and the consequences of attempting to manipulate recognition for individuals ineligible to receive it. ESPN’s actions have raised questions about trust and credibility within the entertainment industry.