Michigan players got "catfished" to be taught online lessons by the school. According to a report from ESPN late Friday night, the athletic department at the University of Michigan "had a fake online persona befriend players."
This was reportedly done in an effort to teach athletes about the dangers of the internet and how online relationships aren't always what they seem. It's a risky move to abuse the trust of students like this, though, and the university is receiving a lot of backlash as a result of this scheme.
Dave Brandon, the Michigan athletic director, stated that they used "an attractive woman to befriend athletes online." This scheme apparently was carried out over two full months, with the players finding out that they had been "catfished" at a team meeting later on.
Whether a teaching tool like this is something that ends in a positive result is debatable, but it's clear that the internet can be a dangerous place for anyone who is trusting. One must only look at the Manti Te'o scandal to get a glimpse of how far people are willing to go to carry on a charade that could leave people with tattered lives in the aftermath.
The Michigan players "catfished" in this ordeal may have a more honest response to what took place when they are no longer in school. As for the term itself, "catfished" has become the pop-culture way of describing when someone has been duped by an online persona.