The season appears to be over for a shadowy Ohio soccer team after remaining opponents scrap the little-known high school from their schedules, officials said Wednesday.
Bishop Sycamore, of Columbus, Ohio, was trounced by the mighty IMG Academy in Florida in a game televised by ESPN Sunday, raising immediate questions about how a school with almost no credentials could make it to the national stage.
As of National Wednesday morning High school sports database MaxPreps Three remaining games were included for Bishop Sycamore: September 24 at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio; October 8 against St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Connecticut. and October 22 against St. Francis Academy in Baltimore.
In written statements to NBC News on Wednesday, representatives of the three schools said they would not play Bishop Sycamore.
“Our school did its due diligence on the situation. We gathered all the facts and decided to move on,” said St Thomas’ football coach Ernst Anderson.
“We have officially removed them from our schedule and are actively looking for an alternative game,” St Edward Athletic manager Kevin Hickman said of his team’s game against Bishop Sycamore.
And when Saint Francis A.D. Nicholas L. Miles was asked if his school date against the Ohio team was still up for grabs, he simply replied, “No, it’s not,” and declined to go into details.
Before Wednesday, prominent Duncanville High School Programs in Texas And Johnson Central High School in Paintsville, Kentucky, had dropped scheduled matches against Bishop Sycamore.
The fallout from Sunday’s IMG 58-0 win over Bishop Sycamore, in a match played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame in Canton, has reached the office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who on Tuesday ordered state investigators To investigate the mysterious Columbus program.
It remains unclear whether the team represents an academic institution with day-to-day instructions or just a football programme, with DeWine saying there are “red flags about the school’s operations”.
Paragon Marketing Group President Rashid Ghazi, whose company arranged Sunday’s match, said he was led to believe Bishop Sycamore is an entirely online operation.
Ohio Department of Education records show Bishop Sycamore is a private school with an address at 3599 Chiller Lane. This is the site Hazem Sports ComplexIt is an indoor sports training facility, and the center is not used as a school.
Education Department records indicate that Andre Peterson is Bishop Sycamore’s point of contact and could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
And it seems Also, Bishop Symez played on Friday, meaning the team fought multiple competitions in 72 hours – a feat unheard of at any level of football. Bishop Sycamore’s opponent on Friday was Sto-Rox High School, a prominent middle school Football program of Western Pennsylvania.
Stu Rocks coach Laroy Johnson said he was told Bishop Sycamore has two different groups of players. But when Johnson appeared on television on Sunday, he got to know many of the same players just 48 hours earlier.
“I wouldn’t do it for my kids,” Johnson told NBC News on Wednesday. “We were told they had two teams.”
The controversy has cast a spotlight on the world of elite high school football and the few teams that will travel out of state for games.
Despite Bishop Sycamore’s high profile, it wasn’t hard for the show to be scheduled alongside some of the biggest names in middle school football.
“Coaches in these elite programs struggle to find games outside of conferences, for teams to come in,” said Ghazi, president of Paragon Marketing Group. “You’re talking about football coaches and sports directors who are not lawyers. They don’t do a lot of due diligence.”
Ghazi added, “They need to play 11 bodies, so people call them and say, ‘Here’s who we are,’ and they say, ‘Wow we’re going to play it’.”
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