While the rest of us law-abiding citizens were out scouring the mall for last-minute Christmas gifts, the Ohio Department of Education spent its weekend doing the Lord’s work and determined that Bishop Sycamore High School—the undisputed Rachel Dolezal of amateur sports—was, in fact, a whole-ass scam.
Yes, we knew this already, but now it’s officially official.
An Ohio school whose legitimacy was scrutinized after its supposedly top-tier football team got clobbered in an ESPN-televised game didn’t live up to its billing educationally either: It turned out to be “a scam,” according to an investigation by the Ohio Department of Education.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he is asking the attorney general and other officials to determine whether any laws were broken by what claimed to be the Columbus-area Bishop Sycamore High School. DeWine said he will work with state education officials and lawmakers on enacting changes recommended by the department to avoid a repeat of the situation.
Aside from lying about the caliber of players on its roster during a nationally televised game in August, as we’ve previously reported at The Root, there was a laundry list of red flags that pointed to Bishop Sycamore being about as authentic as Milli Vanilli:
- Bishop Sycamore describes itself as an online charter school, yet isn’t listed in the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s directory of schools.
- The school’s official website is janky as hell. It’s since been completely deleted, but days ago there was minimal mention about the school’s supposedly elite football program and both the “About Us” and “Staff” sections were completely blank, per CBS Sports.
- Their head coach, Roy Johnson has an active warrant out for his arrest (for a domestic violence incident) and is facing multiple civil lawsuits for defaulting on a $100,00 loan, eviction notices, and other offenses.
- This weekend, the team played two games within a 48-hour period, which raises serious questions about ethics and player safety.
- The team isn’t even made up of high schoolers. Many of them are actually postgraduates, with some having played junior college football. That means they’re just a little older than your typical high school football player.
- The school has had to cancel games in the past due to issues with their roster, a failure to make travel accommodations, and...wait for it...other teams discovering that Bishop Sycamore was fielding players older than high schoolers.
- The school set up a GoFundMe on Aug. 21 for a “new football program getting established in Columbus” that plays “a national schedule which is ranked 4th in the nation.” The campaign raised a grand total of $140 toward its $20,000 goal, but oddly enough, is no longer accepting donations.
There’s also the fact that players shared helmets, the team only had 30 to 35 players on its roster, and this juicy gem from CBS Sports:
For example, quarterback Jailen Knight got the start against IMG Academy and his Twitter account states that he is a three-star prospect in the 2023 class. However, Knight’s Hudl page says that he plays for Perry Hall High School in Baltimore. Knight also has a 247Sports recruiting profile that lists him as an unrecruited quarterback who graduated in 2021. Meanwhile, quarterback Trillian Harris is listed on Hudl as a senior quarterback from Bishop Sycamore. However, Harris’ 247Sports profile lists him as a California quarterback in the 2021 class who wasn’t recruited.
Lord Jesus. Kill it with fire.
“Ohio families should be able to count on the fact that our schools educate students and don’t exist in name only as a vehicle to play high school sports,” Gov. DeWine said in a statement.
As far as the investigation conducted by the Ohio Department of Education, Bishop Sycamore—which is Wakandan for “Nigerian e-mail scam”—failed to meet the minimum standards established by the state and there was zero evidence that the school even enrolled multiple students this year. Per ESPN, “Bishop Sycamore’s report filed with the department for this school year listed only one enrolled student and stated its physical address as a home in a residential neighborhood.”
In the end, the Ohio Department of Education concluded that t
he Jussie Smollet School of Unbridled Stupidity Bishop Sycamore wasn’t even a school. Instead, it was “a way for students to play football against high school teams and potentially increase students’ prospects of playing football at the collegiate level.”
In other words, ladies and gentlemen, it was a scam.
“The cost of this dream for those students wasn’t just the tuition charged to attend the school,” the department said in its report. “The price was the education the students were entitled to receive.”
Hopefully, everyone who belongs in jail enjoys Christmas there.