Bishop Sycamore
(Photo is a still from Sunday’s ESPN broadcast of Bishop Sycamore versus IMG Academy)

Football World Confused by Bishop Sycamore

On a Sunday that featured Jake Paul vs Tyron Woodley and the title game of the Little League World Series, the sporting event that captured headlines was a matchup between perennial football prep powerhouse IMG Academy and Bishop Sycamore High School from Ohio.

If you haven’t heard of Bishop Sycamore no one can blame you, because before Sunday’s game against IMG, few had. The “high school” – it deservedly needs to be in quotations – allegedly told ESPN that their team featured several D1 athletes. Such a claim would certainly merit a game against the Florida prep powerhouse, but if you have seen any film from that game, then you’d know it wasn’t fair from the jump.

Bishop Sycamore was clobbered 58-0 by one of the best high school football teams in the country. Now let’s examine how this “school” snaked their way onto ESPN.

According to a message board post that was found by Awful Announcing editor Ben Koo, Bishop Sycamore supposedly uses post-grad players and as a result, are not certified by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). That same message board emphasizes that the organization is a scam. The “school’s” leaders/coaches – whatever you want to call them – have allegedly used various fraudulent avenues to entice teenagers to join a program that gets curb-stomped by local and national football teams alike.

The post – which is not confirmed to be fact or fiction, so conclude what you will – says this:

“In the 2-3 they’ve been BS, they’ve used multiple fake addresses, multiple fake names, fraudulently attached themselves to actual charitable entities without those entities’ knowledge or permission, and then created a fake school name to attach themselves to. There is not and has never been an actual school.”

VIA Ben Koo/Twitter

Upon some not so thorough investigation, Bishop Sycamore’s website is as sketchy as one would expect. It is poorly strung together and verges on having a pyramid scheme-esque interface. The “About Us” section is blank. The “Staff” section is blank, which may be because head coach, Roy Johnson, allegedly has an active arrest warrant for fraud, according to Complex Sports. Well isn’t that a not-so-surprising turn of events.

In an official statement, ESPN said this regarding the unprecedented, yet hilarious, situation:

“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.”

VIA Complex Sports

It didn’t take long for ESPN to realize that they had been catfished either. Midway through the second quarter, the pair of announcers took the time to apologize to the viewers and recognize the significant talent difference between the two squads.

The internet rage continued when Koo found out that the Ohio-based online charter school played a game on Friday. With the lack of depth on the Bishop Sycamore sideline quite apparent to viewers – the team had several members playing both sides of the ball – having two games in three nights was a reckless decision considering the demanding physicality of the game.

The situation is still baffling. A fake high school managed to maneuver its way onto national television and the largest sports network on the planet missed it. Bishop Sycamore is undoubtedly fake and with several games against other prep powerhouses scheduled, including DeMatha, one could only expect that those games fall apart just like the phantom school did against IMG.


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