Barstool copycat accounts take over high school athletics, go too far

JA Barstool logo
JA Barstool logo

The officially verified Barstool Sports Instagram account has roughly 14.8 million followers. Their sports commentating has inspired numerous high schoolers to create their own barstool accounts to do their own sports commentating. While the point of these accounts is to promote school spirit in advance of upcoming athletic matches, recent posts have crossed the line. 

Barstool is a sports news outlet that publishes sports-related content and viral highlights in the sports world. Sort of Like ESPN, Fox Sports, or Sports Illustrated except more catered to a younger audience. According to their website, “Barstool Sports is an American blog website and digital media company headquartered in New York City that publishes sports journalism and pop culture-related content.” 

The increasingly popular Barstool has triggered numerous copycats. They were originally designed to encourage school spirit and interest in athletics. At most schools where a Barstool exists, they are public accounts run anonymously by a student or students who take it upon themselves to create and share sports content, some positive and some negative, knowing there won’t be repercussions since their identity is hidden.

JA’s Barstool (@jabarstool) posts at least once per week. While most posts are light-hearted or funny, there are some that have simply crossed the line in terms of harmful content, even to the extent of cyberbullying. For example, a post following the football senior night even showed a student at an opposing school partially nude, posted simply because the person in the photo was an opponent. This post has since been deleted, perhaps because it was reported for inappropriate content.


The JAHS Barstool account has 757 followers

And it’s not just JA, but surrounding schools as well. A high school near Plain City posted content comparing an abled player to a person with down syndrome, all because he was playing in their upcoming match. This post, while harmful in many ways, has not been censored by instagram or the school in the account’s name.

Our own JA Barstool bio states “not affiliated with jonathan alder.” This “not affiliated with” has become a trend with almost all the high school Barstools. By adding this disclaimer to their bios, it gives the actual school no jurisdiction over the account unless the post is a threat or disrupts the school day. This is the sort of loophole that student-run accounts create so that high schools can not censor their content, even if it is harmful.

Since the Instagram accounts are such a new but rising trend, there isn’t a lot of professional coverage on it. Instead, high school newspapers In Maryland, Kansas, Iowa, and more, all address their concerns about their own school’s barstool accounts as well, showing that this is a nation-wide problem, not just a central Ohio one. 

Every high school has its own rituals and traditions when it comes to athletics. In theory, having a social media account where all students can follow along and be included in the events or athletes and teams getting recognized for accomplishments is a good idea, except when it gets taken too far and we are stuck with what we have right now and we lose the school spirit the Barstool accounts are aimed to build. Alder, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. 

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  • J

    Jacob CameronNov 2, 2023 at 8:59 AM

    great article! very important to get out there

  • M

    Mrs. CallandOct 24, 2023 at 4:32 PM

    Had no idea this was happening, this is terrible. Thank you for shedding light on this issue!!!

  • E

    Emma KennedyOct 24, 2023 at 9:20 AM

    This is awesome guys!! Keep up the great work!!

  • M

    Maddie SaiterOct 24, 2023 at 8:10 AM

    Okay guys we ate this one up!!!

  • J

    Jackson McCoyOct 24, 2023 at 8:07 AM

    Incredible reporting Pioneer Press staff!!!