The coach of a team that appeared on ESPN in a nationally televised game has said his establishment is not in fact a high school as it claimed.
Bishop Sycamore came under huge scrutiny in the US after they were trounced 58-0 by IMG Academy in a game that was supposed to be between two schools with top college prospects. While that is certainly the case for IMG Academy, Bishop Sycamore’s embarrassing performance caused ESPN’s own commentators to question the school’s legitimacy live on-air
Some players had to share helmets during the game, while ESPN’s commentators voiced concern for the footballers’ safety during the contest. Il Ohio High School Athletic Association later said the school’s “physical location, practice facilities, and roster eligibility could not be verified” and one of Bishop Sycamore’s listed addresses turned out to be a college library. Another was a training facility with no classrooms. Talented players were allegedly lured to Bishop Sycamore by the promise of a Netflix documentary, only to discover that there were no buildings or lessons, let alone a TV show.
Di lunedi, a man identifying himself as Bishop Sycamore’s new coach said the school was not what it had appeared to be.
“We do not offer curriculum,” Tyren Jackson told WCMH-TV. “We are not a school. That’s not what Bishop Sycamore is, and I think that’s what the biggest misconception about us was, and that was our fault. Because that was a mistake on paperwork.”
In Bishop Sycamore’s filing with Ohio’s department of education it describes itself as “a [sic] innovative academically accredited school” and “one of the best academic institutions in the country.”
Roy Johnson, the team’s former coach was the subject of a fraud investigation and at least three lawsuits. He was also the subject of a warrant for failing to appear in a domestic violence case. Former Bishop Sycamore players also claimed he borrowed his plays from the Madden video game series. Johnson was fired last week.
Bishop Sycamore’s founder, Andre Peterson, has denied running a scam. “If it’s a scam and the kids are not going to school and not doing what they’re supposed to do, then I’m literally scamming myself,” Peterson told the Columbus Dispatch. “And most importantly, I’m hurting my own son.”
Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, ha ordered an investigation into the matter.