The Bishop Sycamore High School football team, which took a nationally-televised 58-0 beatdown from IMG Academy (Fla.) in August, has faced immense legitimacy questions since the game. On Friday, the Ohio Department of Education confirmed the Columbus-area school itself to be a "scam."
An investigation by the ODE found Bishop Sycamore failed to meet Ohio's minimum requirements for an educational institution. Investigators couldn't confirm the school's location, teachers' names and found no evidence of multiple students being enrolled this year, leading them to deem Bishop Sycamore as "not a school as it purports on paper to be" in their 41-page report.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday he's looking into whether Bishop Sycamore broke any laws. He's also working with state education officials and lawmakers to find ways to prevent similar situations from occurring again.
"Ohio families should be able to count on the fact that our schools educate students and don't exist in name only as a vehicle to play high school sports," DeWine said in a statement, per the AP.
Bishop Sycamore fired head coach Ron Johnson after the IMG Academy loss, and new coach Tyren Jackson seemed to describe his program as exactly that type of vehicle. In September, Jackson told NBC4 in Ohio his school does not offer a curriculum and is "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," Jackson said. "Because that was a mistake on paperwork."
Ohio had Bishop Sycamore listed as a "non-charter, non-tax supported school." Jackson – who claimed to have no prior knowledge of the distinction – told NBC4 the "school" won't file paperwork to be considered as such for the 2021-22 academic year.
Every remaining opponent on Bishop Sycamore's 2021-22 football schedule canceled their matchup, making the IMG Academy loss Bishop Sycamore's last game of the season. The ODE's investigation and its potential fallout could make that IMG loss Bishop Sycamore's last game as a high school program.