Pro Cornhole League Rocked By 'BagGate' Cheating Scandal

After high-profile scandals in the worlds of chess and fishing, it's cornhole's turn in the hot seat.
Kevin Trimmer via Getty Images

Move over, chess and fishing.

Professional cornhole is the latest competitive event to be tarnished by cheating allegations after a top-ranked team was accused of using illegal beanbags.

The scandal, detailed by The Wall Street Journal in a Tuesday report, is called “BagGate” by fans, and it took place in August during the 2022 American Cornhole League World Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

It started after player Devon Harbaugh griped that opponents Mark Richards and Philip Lopez were using bags that weren’t regulation during the finals, according to the report.

“I thought the bags were too thin,” Harbaugh told the Journal.

Officials who inspected Richards and Lopez’s beanbags confirmed they weren’t regulation, prompting ESPN’s cornhole commentator Mark Pryor to remark, “They’re too small.”

“That’s going to create some drama,” he added.

With a $15,000 grand prize on the line, judges also inspected the bags being used by Lopez and Richards’ opponents.

Those were also found to be not compliant, according to the New York Post, which said that ACL regulations require cornhole bags weigh 16 ounces and be 6 inches by 6 inches when laid flat.

ACL spokesman Trey Ryder told Fox News that the contest continued after officials determined the violations were not intentional.

“It’s possible” there was cheating, Ryder said, but added he was “pretty confident that it wasn’t intentional.”

Lopez maintains his innocence, telling Fox News, “I don’t know how they became illegal-sized. We did not boil the bags.”

The “BagGate” incident is now sparking conversations among the cornhole community about the need for stricter regulations while also revealing the rough-and-tumble antics that go on behind the scenes, according to the Journal.

Since a pro cornhole player can earn up to $250,000 a year, some players go to great lengths to get a leg up on their competition, such as boiling bags or washing them with vinegar to make them more pliable.

“You have the average players that try everything to make the bag do different things,” cornhole pro Nate Voyer told the Journal, adding that he washes his bag with a little fabric softener and lets it air-dry.

Ryder said the ACL is cracking down on “BagGate” by investing in compliance to “make sure that all these bags are to spec” and exploring “automated bag testing.”

However, pro cornholer Jay Corley told the Journal that the only solution is to have “a referee just like any other sport.”

The cornhole controversy comes after the chess community was racked by a scandal in which teenage U.S. chess grandmaster Hans Niemann was accused of cheating by used wirelessly controlled vibrating anal beads or a prostate massager to receive messages from his coach about the winning moves.

Not to be outdone, the fishing world came through with a controversy of its own last month when two anglers at a competition in Pennsylvania were caught with weights stuffed inside their fish. The pair, Jacob Runyan, 42, and Chase Cominsky, 35, have pleaded not guilty to cheating and other charges.

Before You Go

Popular in the Community