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Cornhole Cheating Controversy: All You Need To Know About It

cornhole cheating controversy
cornhole tournament, courtesy ALC

Cheating in sports has always been a concerning issue that prevents other players from having a chance at winning hence defeating the purpose of playing the game. Over the years, we have seen numerous cases of cheating in various sports or tournaments. One such case occurred at the American Cornhole League in the month of August, which faced backlash from sports enthusiasts. Before going into the details of the incident, let us have a look at details about the game of cornhole.

Origin And History Of Cornhole

Cornhole is a popular North American lawn game where players or teams take part in throwing bean bags at a raised board at an angle that has a hole on its farther end. Cornhole is also known as sack toss or bean bag toss. The aim of the game is to land the bean bag on the board and through the hole if able to.

Landing the bag on the board awards one point to the team or player, and making the bag go through the hole awards three points, and at the end of the game, the side with the higher points wins. Features most similar to cornhole were first seen in 1883 in Heyliger de Windt’s patent for “Parlor Quoits.”

cornhole cheating controversy

cornhole, courtesy ACL

However, Heyliger de Windt sold the rights of the game to a toy manufacturer in  Massachusetts who started advertising and selling the game under the name ” Faba Gaba,” which, however,r was different from modern cornhole as it involved two differently sized holes instead of one and were valued at different points. Also, unlike modern cornhole, In Faba Gaba, each player was awarded an extra-large bean bag at the end of each round which could score double points.

Next in the history of cornhole, a popular magazine by the name “Popular Mechanics,” published an article about a game called “Bean-bag Bull’s-eye” in the year 1974 that was very similar to cornhole and even had the same system for awarding points to the players. In the area surrounding Chicago, a game similar to cornhole is played and is referred to as “bags”; however, rectangular bags are used to play it.

The game soon spread throughout Chicago, Illinois, and the North-Western region of Indiana in the late 1970s and early 1980, for which the article in ” Popular Magazine ” was credited. However, modern cornhole as we know it originated and gained popularity in Cincinnati’s west side during the 1980s and which spread to the surrounding regions of Kentucky and southeast Indiana.

cornhole cheating controversy

cornhole tournament, courtesy of ACL

Rules and Requirements For Playing Cornhole

Cornhole does not ask for much equipment or area to play and can be played anywhere, anytime. However, standard cornhole is played with two sets of bean bags, each set having four and two boards. Cornhole requires a minimum of two players; however, it is played with four and even eight. In recent years after professional cornhole was introduced, the bags are recommended to be filled with resin or any material that does not deform and maintains the bag’s shape even after many throws.

Cornhole bags are usually dual-sided, with each side being made of a different material so as to have a different grip depending on the board’s surface and can react faster or slower with respect to it. Players might also use bags with different materials depending on their playing styles. A standard cornhole court has two boards twenty-seven or thirty-three feet apart; however, the distance is changed if younger players are playing, and some scaled-down versions of cornhole are available for children to play with that consist of smaller boards and bags.

cornhole cheating controversy

Cornhole equipment, courtesyWikipediaa

In a standard cornhole court, the areas immediately to the right and left of the board are the pitchers’ boxes, where opponents stand and throw the bags onto the board in front of them. A line emerges from the base of the board onto the pitcher’s side crossing, which is considered a foul. However, the bag can be thrown any way the player wishes.

As mentioned earlier, the game can be played in teams of two, four, and eight. The game is played in 2 innings, each played with a single board. In a one vs. one situation, the opponents stand on the same side and throw eight bags, four each. After the first inning, they move toward the other board on the side while remaining in their lane, turn around, and throw four bags on toward the board they stood near during their first innings.

A two vs. two consists of 4 players in total. In a two vs. two, teammates stand on the opposite side facing each other and throw bags at the board farther from them. In this scenario, changing sides is not required after an inning, as the second inning is played by the teammate. Other than this, a two vs. two is similar to a two vs. two.

cornhole cheating controversy

Cornhole tournament, courtesy of ACL

In a four vs. four, that is the crew format, and gameplay rules are changed a bit. In a crew format, each pitcher’s box has two players in it, with teammates facing each other. However, each duo is to throw two bags per inning, unlike the other two formats, where a single player throws all four bags per innings. Other than this, the gameplay rules are the same as the two vs. two formats.

Associations And Tournaments For Cornhole

The American Cornhole Organization, also known as American Cornhole Association, is an organization whose purpose is to maintain uniformity in the game of cornhole and is focused on allowing cornhole enthusiasts to enjoy the game. It was established in the year 2005 and is headquartered in Milford in the state of Ohio. ACA has since claimed that it is and will act as the governing body for the sport of cornhole. ACA mainly provides enthusiasts a way to buy quality cornhole equipment by selling it on their website. ACA, however, does have its own set of rules and sometimes does organize sponsor events.

American Cornhole League promotes and develops cornhole for any age and skill set, along with creating software to manage cornhole leagues, tournaments, special events, and player development. ACL was founded by Stacey Moore in the year 2015, and since then, the league has been gaining popularity and greater viewership and fans of the sport. ACL has set standard measurements of the equipment that should be used in its tournaments. It specifies that the bags used should be made of double-seamed fabric and should be six by 6 inches, and should weigh 15.5 to 16.5 ounces.

cornhole cheating controversy

cornhole, courtesy of ACL

As for the board, it specifies that each board should be two by 4 feet and should have a hole 6 inches in diameter, and the hole’s center should be 9 inches from the top edge of the board. The top edge of the board should be 12 inches above the ground, while the bottom edge should be 3 to 4 inches above the ground. As mentioned earlier, the boards should be thirty-three or twenty-seven feet apart from each other.

Recently the American Cornhole League has become a trending topic to talk about as a controversy emerged in the league as the top-ranked team was accused of cheating.

All About The Cornhole Controversy

The incident had occurred in the month of August at the American Cornhole League as the top-ranked team was accused of cheating by their opponents during a match that was being live telecasted on ESPN from Rock Hill in South Carolina. The incident since then has been dubbed “BagGate.”

The top-ranked team, consisting of the highly rated duo of Mark Richards and Philip Lopez, was accused of using smaller/thinner bags than the required measurements, hence giving them an advantage in putting the bags through the hole. The one who accused them was on the other team by the name of Devon Harbaugh and later confirmed his accusation while speaking to The Wall Street Journal.

cornhole cheating controversy

Richards and Lopez, courtesy of ESPN

Devon Harbaugh called on the officials in between the match to have Mark Richards’ and Philip Lopez’s bags checked. As a response to the accusation, Mark Richards and Philip Lopez requested the officials that their opponents’ bags be checked too. Officials, while checking Richards’ and Lopez’s bags, did find that they were actually quite smaller than the regular size of bags used. On the other, even their opponents’ bags were found not of the correct size ( 6 by 6 inches and should weigh about 16 ounces) after checking, which did create some drama during the match.

However, after an hour’s delay, the officials, after discussions, decided that the irregularities in either side’s bags were totally unintentional and allowed the match to continue, which had a prize pool of 15000 dollars. ACL spokesman Trey Ryder later confirmed the decision by ACL while speaking to The Wall Street Journal.

cornhole cheating controversy

Cornhole professionals. courtesy ESPN

Cornhole has surpassed its status as a casual backyard game and now has become a professional sport that has serious athletes, with top-ranked players earning up to 250,000 dollars per year from prize money, brand endorsements, and deals. With such money involved, average players have been trying various ways to get the upper hand over their opponents, be it by boiling the bags to shrink them or by washing them with vinegar to make them pliable.

Since the infamous controversy, AFL having facing backlash from cornhole enthusiasts all over the United States of America. The incident has hence led AFL to take steps over monitoring equipment. Trey Ryder said that since the mishap, more bags had been rejected than ever before because of the thorough monitoring. Ryder even said that the committee has been planning on computerized checking for the bags. Eric Marvin, the president of ACA, has said that ACA will be formulating new sets of rules of guidelines for cornhole by the end of the year. Many professional athletes of cornhole believe that the game will soon require a referee as it grows.

 

 

 

 

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