Bishop Sycamore is NOT a high school: New coach claims it is a 'post-grad football academy' after it 'duped' its way into coveted ESPN-televised game that ended in bizarre 58-0 loss

The newly hired Bishop Sycamore football coach has admitted that the supposed online high school that garnered nationwide attention last week following a 58-0 blowout loss on ESPN is not a school at all, but rather, a 'post-grad football academy.'

Coach Tyren Jackson did not shed any light on how the program managed to book a coveted game against the defending national champion IMG Academy on August 29 — a bizarre spectacle that raised concerns over player safety — but he did tell WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio that the 'misconception' over Bishop Sycamore was simply a 'mistake on paperwork.'

'We do not offer curriculum,' Jackson said. '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.' 

It remains unclear how Bishop Sycamore booked the prestigious game at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, but event organizer the Paragon Marketing Group said in a statement that they were 'misled' about the mysterious online institution's roster. 

The bizarre high school football game has led to questions about Bishop Sycamore, itself, as an educational institution.  

IMG Academy (white), a national powerhouse, and Bishop Sycamore (black), which exists only online, somehow found themselves matched up against each other on ESPN on Sunday. Bishop Sycamore has since fired its coach as four opponents canceled upcoming games amid questions over the online school's legitimacy

IMG Academy , a national powerhouse, and Bishop Sycamore , which exists only online, somehow found themselves matched up against each other on ESPN on Sunday. Bishop Sycamore has since fired its coach as four opponents canceled upcoming games amid questions over the online school's legitimacy

ESPN announcers openly worried about player safety during the obvious mismatch. At one point, Bishop Sycamore's No. 54 apparently suffered an injury. ESPN attempted to identify the player, but there was no No. 54 on the roster provided to the broadcasters

ESPN announcers openly worried about player safety during the obvious mismatch. At one point, Bishop Sycamore's No. 54 apparently suffered an injury. ESPN attempted to identify the player, but there was no No. 54 on the roster provided to the broadcasters 

ESPN’s commendations WENT IN on Bishop Sycamore 💀 pic.twitter.com/RCJv46gOA3

Bishop Sycamore was listed as a registered non-chartered, non-tax supported school in Ohio last year, and has until September 30 to file paperwork for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. However, Jackson said there are no plans to do so.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine previously asked the state's department of education to investigate Bishop Sycamore to see that it meets the minimum academic standards.

Jackson said he will cooperate with the state's investigation. 

'I don't have any problem cooperating, letting them know whatever they want to know and things of that nature,' he told WCMH-TV. 'That stuff should never had happened the way it happened. I'm willing to take responsibility for it and say that it was a mistake. It's something that shouldn't have been that way, and that's something that I have to address stepping into this role.' 

In a previous filing with the Ohio Department of Education, Bishop Sycamore described itself as 'a innovative academically accredited school' and 'one of the best academic institutions in the country.'

However, Bishop Sycamore also admitted to having just three enrolled students last year, and its listed address was that of a downtown Columbus university library that says it never rented space to the school, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Bishop Sycamore's website contains no contact information, nor does it offer any background about the online school, its history, its staff, or its student body.

Governor Mike DeWine announced last week that he asked the Ohio Department of Education to investigate whether the school complies with minimum standards under Ohio law and provides 'the educational opportunities Ohio students deserve'

Governor Mike DeWine announced last week that he asked the Ohio Department of Education to investigate whether the school complies with minimum standards under Ohio law and provides 'the educational opportunities Ohio students deserve'

The Bishop Sycamore website contains no information about the online school, its history, its staff, or its student body. According to USA Today , the Ohio Department of Education has no listing for the school for the upcoming term, but last year listed Bishop Sycamore as a religious, 'non-chartered, non-tax supported school'

The Bishop Sycamore website contains no information about the online school, its history, its staff, or its student body. According to USA Today , the Ohio Department of Education has no listing for the school for the upcoming term, but last year listed Bishop Sycamore as a religious, 'non-chartered, non-tax supported school'

Bishop Sycamore head coach Roy Johnson was let go after Sunday's embarrassing defeat. School founder and assistant football coach Andre Peterson revealed the firing to USA Today on Tuesday, explaining that Johnson had done a poor job of tracking team injuries.

Sunday's game was the school's second in three days, which is an obvious safety concern for a school that continues to face scrutiny over its legitimacy.

Jackson is now identifying himself as the team's head coach.

The report submitted to the department last year was signed by Peterson, who coaches the team's offensive and defensive line and is a father of one of the players, the newspaper said.

This is who Bishop Sycamore is rushing vs the #6 ranked player in nation who’s committed to Alabamapic.twitter.com/qncqkK8dIa

In comments to USA TODAY Sports, Peterson said the team's coach had been fired after the blowout loss to IMG Academy, and denied that there was any 'scam' to the game or the school, saying Bishop Sycamore helps players hoping to compete in college.

'There's nothing that I've gotten out of this that would constitute it as a scam because I'm not gaining anything financially from what we're doing. The reality of it is that I have a son that's also in the program and has been in the program for four years,' he said.

'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. And most importantly, I'm hurting my own son. So when people say stuff like that … I would literally be taking my son's future and throwing it in the trash.'

Sunday's game, played near the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, was meant to be a showcase of two teams with elite college prospects. Instead, Bishop Sycamore was quickly exposed by bigger and faster IMG players en route to a 58-0 loss. What's worse, it was later revealed that Sunday's defeat was Bishop Sycamore's second game in three days - an obvious safety concern given the quick turnaround

Sunday's game, played near the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, was meant to be a showcase of two teams with elite college prospects. Instead, Bishop Sycamore was quickly exposed by bigger and faster IMG players en route to a 58-0 loss. What's worse, it was later revealed that Sunday's defeat was Bishop Sycamore's second game in three days - an obvious safety concern given the quick turnaround

Sunday's game, played at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, was meant to be a showcase of two teams with elite college prospects. Instead, Bishop Sycamore was quickly exposed by bigger and faster IMG players en route to a 58-0 loss.

What's worse, it was later revealed that Sunday's defeat was Bishop Sycamore's second game in three days - an obvious safety concern given the quick turnaround.

Akron Archbishop Hoban football coach Tim Tyrell is familiar with Bishop Sycamore and told USA Today that playing two games in three days is 'against any high school rule,' adding, 'they're not a high school.'

ESPN STATEMENT 

'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.' 

ESPN has since released a statement expressing 'regret' over Sunday's game, while specifying that the matchup was arranged by Paragon Marketing Group.

Rashid Ghazi, the president of Paragon, claimed in a statement provided to DailyMail.com that the marketing firm was misled.

'In regard to the IMG vs. Bishop Sycamore game, we were misled about Bishop Sycamore's roster,' Ghazi said. 'On the Paragon end the vetting process should have been much more thorough in the weeks leading up to the game.

'Additionally, Paragon was not informed and had no prior knowledge that Bishop Sycamore players may have participated in a contest on 8/27. If we were aware of that game being played, we would have immediately cancelled the broadcast and event on 8/29.'

The network has a long history with Paragon, which claims to have secured the rights for ESPN to broadcast one of LeBron James's high school games back in 2002.

According to Awful Announcing, Bishop Sycamore officials allegedly backed out of a conference call with ESPN after the network voiced concerns about its roster.

Sunday's football game quickly drew national scrutiny when one third-quarter clip went viral.

'Bishop Sycamore told us they had a number of Division I prospects on their roster, and to be frank, a lot of that, we could not verify,' Shroff told the ESPN audience.

'They did not show up in our database, they did not show up in the databases of other recruiting services. So, OK, that's what you're telling us, fine, that's how we take it in. From what we've seen so far, this is not a fair fight, and there's got to be a point where you're worried about health and safety.'

Bishop Sycamore football coach Leroy (Roy) Johnson told USA Today that the school operates out of the athletic complex 'a few days a week.' Johnson went on to say that Bishop Sycamore's 2021-22 enrollment begins Wednesday, and the education will be handled through another online school, Excel

Bishop Sycamore football coach Leroy Johnson told USA Today that the school operates out of the athletic complex 'a few days a week.' Johnson went on to say that Bishop Sycamore's 2021-22 enrollment begins Wednesday, and the education will be handled through another online school, Excel

No major injuries from the game have been reported, although ESPN announcers openly worried about player safety during the obvious mismatch.

At one point, Bishop Sycamore's No. 54 apparently suffered an injury and was tended to by trainers on the field. ESPN attempted to identify the player, but the roster provided to the broadcasters did not contain any No. 54.

Since the August 29 loss, four major high school football teams have pulled out of games with Bishop Sycamore: DeMatha Catholic , Duncanville , Liberty , and Johnson Central , according to various reports.

A picture posted on Bishop Sycamore's team Twitter page shows several players, while claiming they're from California, Florida, New York and Ohio

A picture posted on Bishop Sycamore's team Twitter page shows several players, while claiming they're from California, Florida, New York and Ohio 

Duncanville Athletic Director Dwight Weaver explained the decision in a statement, saying 'safety is our top priority.' 

DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor admitted to the Washington Post that he was more or less duped by Bishop Sycamore and then-coach Roy Johnson when he scheduled a game against the team. 

'We're high school coaches,' said McGregor, who had spoken with Bishop Sycamore's Roy Johnson about playing. 'You take things for granted. We're all very, very similar. That was the last thing that ever entered my mind.' 

DeMatha, which scheduled Bishop Sycamore last year but the game was wiped out by the pandemic, pulled out of this year's game because the Ohio team allegedly had players who were too old to compete. 

'That became a liability factor,' McGregor said. 'If I would have played a team with kids that are too old, then that liability is on me.' 

Following the game, a Fairfield Inn & Suites in Canton filed a police report, claiming it received a fraudulent $3,596.73 check for Bishop Sycamore's stay on August 28, according to WKYC.

#54 for Bishop Sycamore is hurt and he’s not even listed on the roster ESPN got from them: pic.twitter.com/hrgfZCa5Yb