Sunday, March 13, 2011 — Bristol, CT — Studio E — Men’s college basketball “Bracketologist” Joe Lunardi

BRISTOL, CT – ESPN has parted ways with Joe Lunardi, the network’s longtime bracketologist, after an internal review discovered that Lunardi never received a license to practice bracketology and did not even undergo any formal training in the field.

An ESPN spokesman confirmed the findings: “As part of a standard review we do with all employees and contractors, we discovered that Mr. Lunardi had never received a bracketologist license and was actually no more than a standard college basketball analyst who liked talking about brackets. When confronted with the information, he confirmed it was true. We are very disappointed. Mr. Lunardi was someone we counted on to provide us with accurate seeds and regions beginning each November.”

Calls to Lunardi went unanswered and when calling his bracketology office in Manhattan, a receptionist hung up the phone. One man seen leaving the practice said he couldn’t believe the allegations.

“I’ve been coming here for years for information on seedings, region, bubble teams, who’s in and who’s out,” said Jeff Allmon. “I can’t believe it is true. I never even thought to check into his credentials. Who reads over the diplomas on the wall at their bracketologists? I just assumed he was legit because he was on ESPN. I don’t even know what to say.”

In Lunardi’s final bracket projection for ESPN, he slated Kansas, Gonzaga, Villanova and North Carolina as the No. 1 seeds in next week’s NCAA Tournament. ESPN now says they are doing a full review to see if those teams actually are the likely No. 1 seeds.

“Why isn’t UCLA in there?” said one of Lunardi’s longtime coworkers. “They have a case. I trusted Joe, but it looks like he was a fraud. It’s very sad.”

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