COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — An investigation into the Bishop Sycamore High School, which gained notoriety in August when it lost a football game on ESPN, found “numerous disturbing allegations,” a statement Friday from Gov. Mike DeWine said.
DeWine said he would ask Attorney General Dave Yost to determine whether Bishop Sycamore, based in Columbus, violated any civil or criminal laws.
The 79-page report from the state Department of Education concluded, “There is no evidence that Bishop Sycamore High School is meeting the minimum standards for non-chartered, non-tax supported schools” after it filed paperwork as one in consecutive years.
“This report confirms numerous disturbing allegations regarding Bishop Sycamore,” DeWine said in the statement. “There is no evidence that the ‘school’ enrolled students this year, had a physical location for classes to meet, employed teachers, nor offered any academic program meeting minimum standards.”
The report, which can be read in full at this link, also included multiple recommendations for schools that seek similar status.
Bishop Sycamore was one of the stranger news stories of 2021. On Aug. 29, it played IMG Academy of Bradenton, Florida, in Canton and lost 58-0. During the game, ESPN commentators openly questioned whether the game should be played.
“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,” ESPN’s Anish Shroff said. “They did not show up in our database, they did not show up in the databases of other recruiting services.”
Over the next days, Bishop Sycamore fired its coach and quickly replaced him. NBC4 investigated the school and interviewed the new coach. The school became the subject of memes. Then, as DeWine moved to open the investigation, future opponents began canceling their games against Bishop Sycamore.
The new coach, Tyren Jackson, said at the time that Bishop Sycamore identifying as a school was a misconception.
“We do not offer curriculum,” he 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.”
State investigators included that comment from Jackson in its report.