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Ohio Department of Education to Investigate Bishop Sycamore Football Controversy

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 1, 2021

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Ohio Department of Education will investigate Bishop Sycamore as the fallout from the school's controversial 58-0 loss to IMG Academy on Sunday continues.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced he asked the department to investigate "to ensure compliance with Ohio law and to ensure the school is providing the educational opportunities Ohio students deserve."

DeWine explained it is not clear whether Bishop Sycamore meets the necessary requirements under the state's law when it comes to the school's operations.

Bishop Sycamore founder Andre Peterson told Chris Bumbaca of USA Today that head football coach Roy Johnson was fired after the game.

The game was billed as a clash between two elite high school programs and was broadcast nationally on ESPN. IMG Academy had no trouble in the blowout victory, and announcer Anish Shroff questioned the safety and merits of the Bishop Sycamore program during the game after ESPN was told the team had multiple Division I prospects.

He also took to Twitter and said the team "had no business being in that game" and was putting the players at risk:

Anish Shroff @AnishESPN

Sorry. They had no business being in that game today. None. I feel bad for the kids. Player health and safety was at risk today. It was uncomfortable for anyone who watched. <a href="https://t.co/Eq39vdywLm">https://t.co/Eq39vdywLm</a>

On Monday, Ben Koo of Awful Announcing reported that Bishop Sycamore also played on Friday night. 

ESPN, which worked with the company Paragon to schedule the game, released a statement on the situation as well: "We regret that this happened and have discussed it with Paragon, which secured the matchup and handles the majority of our high school event scheduling. They have ensured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward."

Paragon president Rashid Ghazi told Koo that the game would have been canceled had his company known it was Bishop Sycamore's second game in three days.

As for the school itself, Jason Frakes of the Louisville Courier Journal provided additional details noting Bishop Sycamore is not part of the Ohio High School Athletic Association. What's more, the Ohio Department of Education does not list Bishop Sycamore as a charter school but instead a "non-chartered, non-tax supported school."

Frakes noted it was not clear if the school filed a required report stating it met Ohio's school operating standards that are in place even for non-chartered schools.

"The state lists Bishop Sycamore's mailing address as a post office box, and its 'physical address' as 3599 Chiller Lane in Columbus—the address of Resolute Athletic Complex, an indoor sports facility near Easton Town Center," Frakes wrote.

The school is now under investigation by the state.

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