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Watch ‘BagGate’: Professional cornhole is latest sport to be rocked by cheating scandal – Latest News

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Watch ‘BagGate’: Professional cornhole is latest sport to be rocked by cheating scandal – Latest News

Professional cornhole has become the latest sport to be rocked by a cheating scandal after rival players accused each other of using illegal bean bags in the world championships this summer.

The scandal, aptly dubbed “BagGate”, unfolded during the 2022 American Cornhole League (ACL) World Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina, back in August when professional player Devon Harbaugh first complained that competitors Mark Richards and Philip Lopez – the number one ranking doubles team – appeared to be using bags smaller than required.

The accusation led to a pause in the competition while the bags were inspected by officials, who determined that they did indeed fail to meet the requirements of the league.

“They’re too small,” said ESPN’s cornhole color commentator Mark Pryor as the saga played out live on TV. “That’s going to create some drama.”

At that point, Mr Richards and Mr Lopez threw the accusation back at their competitor, asking for the bags being used by Mr Harbough and his team to also be inspected.

In a dramatic twist, officials then revealed that their bags also fell short of requirements.

The saga momentarily delayed the competition before officials determined that the bag violations had been unintentional and that the contest could proceed.

The ACL has since doubled down on its stance that the discrepancies were no more than honest mistakes by the professional players battling it out for the $15,000 prize. Both sides have also said they are unaware what c

“It’s possible, but I’m pretty confident that it wasn’t intentional,” ACL spokesperson Trey Ryder toldThe Wall Street Journal.

But, fans of the niche sport are less convinced saying the “dirty underbelly is being exposed” and officials are now looking to ramp up regulations and policing in the sport.

Mr Ryder said that random bag checks will be in place throughout the upcoming season and the league is also exploring the possibility of automated bag testing.

“We’ve really had to crack down to make sure that all these bags are to spec,” said Mr Ryder.

“Internally we’ve had to invest more into our compliance.”

He added: “We believe we are taking a major step.”

Jay Rubin and Jordan Power winning the 2022 Doubles World Champions in August

(ACL/Twitter)

Eric Marvin, president of the American Cornhole Association, told the Journal that major change is on the horizon for the sport with new regulations to be announced soon.

“You’re going to see some big shifts and movements in the infrastructure of the sport. This is when sports evolve,” he said.

Under current rules, the ACL stipulates that cornhole bags must measure six by six inches when laid flat and weigh 16 ounces.

But, with top players able to take home as much as $250,000 a year from winnings, sponsorship deals and endorsements, some are doctoring their bags to make them lighter and thinner to try to bolster their chances in the game.

Professional player Nate Voyer told the Journal that he washes his bags with fabric softener and then lets them air dry.

“You have the average players that try everything to make the bag do different things,” he said.

The scandal now playing out in professional cornhole marks just the latest to rock the sporting world.

In September, two men were accused of stuffing five walleye with lead weights and fish filets during a fishing tournament on Lake Erie where the winner would have netted $28,000.

The incident unfolded on 30 September when officials grew suspicious that fish caught by two contenders – Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky – were significantly heavier than walleye of that length typically are.

The fishermen were dramatically exposed when an official then cut open the fish and found the weights and fish fillets stuffed inside.

The two men were charged with felony counts of cheating, attempted grand theft, possessing criminal tools and misdemeanour charges of unlawfully owning wild animals.

Earlier this year, a major cheating scandal also broke out in the chess world, prompting a $100m lawsuit,

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