DeWine, Department of Education recommend AG investigation into Bishop Sycamore scandal

Bishop Sycamore Jaylen Morris played in the game in Canton over the weekend that lead many to...
Bishop Sycamore Jaylen Morris played in the game in Canton over the weekend that lead many to question the validity of the school.(@NIL_team_)
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 1:14 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - The Ohio Department of Education released findings from its investigation into the Columbus-area non-chartered school that stole headlines this year after playing a football game on ESPN.

The news isn’t good for Bishop Sycamore.

The Department of Education and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine both recommended consulting with the Ohio Attorney General regarding potential legal action.

Bishop Sycamore rose to national attention after playing against national powerhouse IMG Academy, losing 58-0 in a game televised on ESPN. The loss made many people question how such a lopsided game came to be and whether Bishop Sycamore accurately portrayed itself to game organizers and ESPN.

Head coach Roy Johnson left the school after the game, and he was replaced by Tyren Jackson. In an interview with a Columbus television station, Jackson said, “We do not offer curriculum. We are not a school.” He called Bishop Sycamore a “post-grad football academy.”

According to the Department of Education report, the school purported to portray itself as a religious institution, leading to its filing as a non-charter, non-tax funded institution. However, the investigation could not determine any religious affiliation for the school.

During its subsequent investigation, the Ohio Department of Education found, among other things:

  • The school was not open for instruction for the requisite hours for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.
  • The student’s enrollment was not reported to the respective school districts of residence.
  • The Department was unable to confirm that Bishop Sycamore teachers and administrators meet qualification requirements.
  • The Department was unable to identify any criteria to promote students from grade to grade.
  • The Department was unable to confirm whether the school complied with appropriate state and local health, fire, and safety laws.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine released a statement on the findings, calling the allegations disturbing and asking Attorney General Dave Yost and others to investigate whether Bishop Sycamore violated any civil or criminal laws.

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