Bishop Sycamore’s new head coach addresses controversy: ‘We are not a school’

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Bishop Sycamore made national headlines after it suffered a blowout 58-0 loss against IMG Academy that was aired on ESPN. In the ensuing week since that contest, questions have been raised about the legitimacy of the program and whether or not it was actually a school based out of Columbus, Ohio, as it claimed to be.

Now, the program is coming clean under new head coach Tyren Jackson. He explained that the program is a “post-grad football academy” in an interview with Jamie Ostroff of NBC4. It is not a school.

“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.”

MORE: Is Bishop Sycamore a legit high school football program? IMG Academy’s ESPN opponent explained

How was that mistake made? Why did the “school” file with the Ohio Department of Education? And why did the program have a bell schedule and building address associated with the school? Jackson explained that the filing occurred before he was hired seven months ago. He wasn’t sure why it happened.

“I don’t know anything about that,” Jackson said. “I won’t speak on stuff I don’t know about. Like I said, if it was something that happened like that, then that’s terrible. That’s not how you do business.”

All of this certainly deserves to be questioned, as Bishop Sycamore planned to play other high schools in addition to IMG Academy this season. Its other odd operating procedures, like their status as a member of the Texas Christian Athletic League despite being based in Ohio and presence of postgraduate high school students on their roster, should fall under the microscope as well.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has launched an investigation into the program, so eventually, more about this matter should come to light.

But for now, Jackson is only focused on moving forward after replacing coach Roy Johnson following Bishop Sycamore’s loss to IMG Academy. Bishop Sycamore’s remaining 2021 opponents canceled their games against the program in wake of the controversy surrounding it, but Jackson is hopeful another team craving national attention will soon step up and play them.

“A lot of it, you can say, was self-inflicted, and I’m willing to say that,” Jackson said of Bishop Sycamore’s issues. “But at the same time, that’s probably from a head-down type of thing. Don’t attack these kids. Don’t take that part from them, now that they don’t have a season, possibly. Once the smoke clears, we’re national news. Whoever does schedule us next will be national news.”





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