Mysterious Ohio High School football team’s season appears to be over following state investigation
The season appears to be over for a mysterious Ohio preseason football team after remaining opponents took the little-known high school off their schedule, officials said on Wednesday.
Bishop Sycamore, a native of Columbus, Ohio, was beaten hard by Central Florida IMG Academy on Sunday during a televised game on ESPN, raising immediate questions about how a school with virtually no diploma could fare. make it onto the national stage.
On Wednesday morning, the National High School Sports Database MaxPreps listed three remaining games for Bishop Sycamore: September 24 at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio; Oct. 8 vs. St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Connecticut; and October 22 against Saint Frances Academy in Baltimore.
In statements written to NBC News on Wednesday, representatives of the three schools said they would not play Bishop Sycamore.
“Our school has done due diligence in dealing with the situation. We have gathered all the facts and decided to move forward,” said St. Thomas football coach Ernest Anderson.
St. Edward’s athletic director Kevin Hickman said of his team’s game against Bishop Sycamore: “We have officially taken them off our schedule and are actively looking for a replacement game.
And when Saint Frances AD Nicholas L. Myles was asked if his school’s fixture against the Ohio team was still in progress, he simply replied, “No it isn’t. “, and refused to develop.
Before Wednesday, major programs from Duncanville High School of Texas and Johnson Central High School in Paintsville, Kentucky, had abandoned the scheduled matches against Bishop Sycamore.
The fallout from IMG’s 58-0 victory on Sunday over Bishop Sycamore, in a game played at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame in Canton, reached the office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who on Tuesday ordered the State investigators to investigate the mysterious Columbus program.
It is still not clear whether the team represents an academic institution with daily education or if it is just a football program, with DeWine saying there are “red flags regarding the operations of the club. ‘school”.
Paragon Marketing Group chairman Rashid Ghazi, whose company hosted Sunday’s game, said he was tricked into believing Bishop Sycamore was a fully online operation.
Ohio Department of Education records showed Bishop Sycamore as a private school with an address at 3599 Chiller Lane. This is the location of the Resolute Athletic Complex, an indoor sports training center, and the center is not used as a school.
Education Ministry records cite Andre Peterson as Bishop Sycamore’s point of contact and he could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
And it looks like Bishop Sycamore played on Friday as well, meaning the team put on multiple games in 72 hours – an act virtually unheard of at any level of football. Bishop Sycamore’s opponent on Friday was Sto-Rox High School, a premier preschool football program in western Pennsylvania.
Sto-Rox coach LaRoi Johnson said he’s been told Bishop Sycamore is fielding two different groups of players. But when Johnson turned on the television on Sunday, he recognized many of the same players as 48 hours earlier.
“I wouldn’t do that for my kids. We were told they had two teams,” Johnson told NBC News on Wednesday.
The controversy has shed light on the world of elite high school football and the few teams that will be traveling out of state for games.
Despite Bishop Sycamore’s slim resume, it hasn’t been difficult for the program to be scheduled alongside some of the biggest names in preseason football.
“Coaches in these elite programs have a hard time finding non-conference games for teams to come to them,” said Ghazi, president of Paragon Marketing Group. “You talk about football coaches and athletic directors who aren’t lawyers. They don’t do a lot of due diligence.”
Ghazi added, “They have to play 11 corps, so people call them up and say, ‘This is who we are,’ and they say, ‘Great, we’ll play them. “”