in

Mystery as ‘online charter high school’ football team lands coveted ESPN-televised game

Spread the love


A high school football game televised on ESPN is under intense scrutiny after a mysterious online school somehow managed to secure a matchup with the defending national champions, only to lose 58-0 as announcers voiced concerns about player safety.

‘It was uncomfortable for anyone who watched,’ ESPN announcer Anish Shroff tweeted after calling Sunday’s game between Florida’s IMG Academy, a national powerhouse, and Bishop Sycamore, which exists only online.  

Bishop Sycamore’s website contains no contact information, nor does it offer any background about the online school, its history, its staff, or its student body. According to USA Today, the Ohio Department of Education has no listing for the school for the upcoming term, but last year listed Bishop Sycamore as a religious, ‘non-chartered, non-tax supported school.’     

DailyMail.com’s attempts to reach Bishop Sycamore team officials over social media have been unsuccessful. 

IMG Academy (white), a national powerhouse, and Bishop Sycamore (black), which exists only online, somehow found themselves matched up against each other on ESPN on Sunday

IMG Academy (white), a national powerhouse, and Bishop Sycamore (black), which exists only online, somehow found themselves matched up against each other on ESPN on Sunday 

ESPN announcers openly worried about player safety during the obvious mismatch. At one point, Bishop Sycamore's No. 54 apparently suffered an injury. ESPN attempted to identify the player, but there was no No. 54 on the roster provided to the broadcasters

ESPN announcers openly worried about player safety during the obvious mismatch. At one point, Bishop Sycamore’s No. 54 apparently suffered an injury. ESPN attempted to identify the player, but there was no No. 54 on the roster provided to the broadcasters 

ESPN announcer Anish Shroff did not pull any punches after watching Sunday's mismatch

ESPN announcer Anish Shroff did not pull any punches after watching Sunday’s mismatch 

Bishop Sycamore (in black) was clearly the smaller team in Canton, Ohio on Sunday

Bishop Sycamore (in black) was clearly the smaller team in Canton, Ohio on Sunday 

Bishop Sycamore coach Leroy (Roy) Johnson is reportedly facing a lawsuit and a warrant

Bishop Sycamore coach Leroy (Roy) Johnson is reportedly facing a lawsuit and a warrant

The Bishop Sycamore website contains no information about the online school, its history, its staff, or its student body. According to USA Today , the Ohio Department of Education has no listing for the school for the upcoming term, but last year listed Bishop Sycamore as a religious, 'non-chartered, non-tax supported school'

The Bishop Sycamore website contains no information about the online school, its history, its staff, or its student body. According to USA Today , the Ohio Department of Education has no listing for the school for the upcoming term, but last year listed Bishop Sycamore as a religious, ‘non-chartered, non-tax supported school’

Sunday’s game, played at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, was meant to be a showcase of two teams with elite college prospects. Instead, Bishop Sycamore was quickly exposed by bigger and faster IMG players en route to a 58-0 loss. 

What’s worse, it was later revealed that Sunday’s defeat was Bishop Sycamore’s second game in three days – an obvious safety concern given the quick turnaround. 

Akron Archbishop Hoban football coach Tim Tyrell is familiar with Bishop Sycamore and told USA Today that playing two games in three days is ‘against any high school rule,’ adding, ‘they’re not a high school.’

ESPN has since released a statement expressing ‘regret’ over Sunday’s game, while specifying that the matchup was arranged by Paragon Marketing Group. 

Rashid Ghazi, the president of Paragon, claimed in a statement provided to DailyMail.com that the marketing firm was misled.  

‘In regard to the IMG vs. Bishop Sycamore game, we were misled about Bishop Sycamore’s roster,’ Ghazi said. ‘On the Paragon end the vetting process should have been much more thorough in the weeks leading up to the game.  

ESPN STATEMENT 

‘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.’ 

‘Additionally, Paragon was not informed and had no prior knowledge that Bishop Sycamore players may have participated in a contest on 8/27. If we were aware of that game being played, we would have immediately cancelled the broadcast and event on 8/29.’  

The network has a long history with Paragon, which claims to have secured the rights for ESPN to broadcast one of LeBron James’s high school games back in 2002. 

Sunday’s football game quickly drew national scrutiny when one third-quarter clip went viral.

‘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,’ Shroff told the ESPN audience.

‘They did not show up in our database, they did not show up in the databases of other recruiting services. So, OK, that’s what you’re telling us, fine, that’s how we take it in. From what we’ve seen so far, this is not a fair fight, and there’s got to be a point where you’re worried about health and safety.’

No major injuries from the game have been reported, although ESPN announcers openly worried about player safety during the obvious mismatch. At one point, Bishop Sycamore’s No. 54 apparently suffered an injury and was tended to by trainers on the field. ESPN attempted to identify the player, but the roster provided to the broadcasters did not contain a No. 54. 

Sunday's game, played near the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, was meant to be a showcase of two teams with elite college prospects. Instead, Bishop Sycamore was quickly exposed by bigger and faster IMG players en route to a 58-0 loss. What's worse, it was later revealed that Sunday's defeat was Bishop Sycamore's second game in three days - an obvious safety concern given the quick turnaround

Sunday’s game, played near the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, was meant to be a showcase of two teams with elite college prospects. Instead, Bishop Sycamore was quickly exposed by bigger and faster IMG players en route to a 58-0 loss. What’s worse, it was later revealed that Sunday’s defeat was Bishop Sycamore’s second game in three days – an obvious safety concern given the quick turnaround

As for Bishop Sycamore, questions continued to circle the school and the program after Sunday’s game. 

Officially, according to USA Today, it does have a mailing address, but that’s just a post office box. There’s also a physical address listed, but that happens to be the address of a Columbus-area athletic complex.   

Bishop Sycamore football coach Leroy (Roy) Johnson told USA Today that the school operates out of the athletic complex ‘a few days a week.’ 

Johnson went on to say that Bishop Sycamore’s 2021-22 enrollment begins Wednesday, and the education will be handled through another online school, Excel.  

Furthermore, Johnson faces a warrant in Ohio for failing to appear in court for a domestic violence case that was eventually reduced to a criminal mischief charge, according to court documents obtained by Outkick.com. 

Outkick.com also reported that Johnson is set to face trial after he and his partners defaulted on a $100,000 loan.  

Bishop Sycamore football coach Leroy (Roy) Johnson told USA Today that the school operates out of the athletic complex 'a few days a week.' Johnson went on to say that Bishop Sycamore's 2021-22 enrollment begins Wednesday, and the education will be handled through another online school, Excel

Bishop Sycamore football coach Leroy (Roy) Johnson told USA Today that the school operates out of the athletic complex ‘a few days a week.’ Johnson went on to say that Bishop Sycamore’s 2021-22 enrollment begins Wednesday, and the education will be handled through another online school, Excel

Ray Holtzclaw, the father of former Bishop Sycamore quarterback Judah Holtzclaw, told Awful Announcing that the school immediately gave him cause for concern, such as a lack of equipment, uniforms, and any preparation.  

‘They assured me everything would be taken care of, and then we were supposed to start playing football for them in the Spring,’ said Holtzclaw, whose son has since converted to tight end and now plays at Youngstown State. ‘They had a schedule they put out. 

A picture posted on Bishop Sycamore's team Twitter page shows several players, while claiming they're from California, Florida, New York and Ohio

A picture posted on Bishop Sycamore’s team Twitter page shows several players, while claiming they’re from California, Florida, New York and Ohio 

‘About two, maybe three weeks before the game was scheduled to play, I said ”Where is the rest of the team and where are the uniforms? Where’s all the stuff?”

‘They were like ”Well, the first game may get cancelled because of COVID’… it was a Canadian team from across the border. Whatever. 

‘So I said, ”Even if things haven’t gone according to game schedule, we aren’t ready. We don’t have uniforms, we don’t have all this stuff.”’

Holtzclaw said Johnson promised that the equipment was on its way, but issues persisted. 

‘There was another game that was supposed to be scheduled to play,’ he continued. ‘Again, it was the same story. Spring of this year, spring 2021. I said, ”Look, Judah is not playing in any games until we have at least a couple weeks of practice before getting on the field, and I don’t care who it is.” We kinda left it at that.’

Tyrell also said he had some similar problems after trying to schedule a game with Bishop Sycamore. 

‘The week of the game it was a little bit — some things were a little bit off-putting, not having rosters, not having who was actually playing, that type of stuff,’ Tyrell told USA Today. ‘But during the game, we didn’t have any issues, other than a jersey issue. They didn’t have their [light] jerseys so they had to go in the dark jersey.’ 

Tyrell also said he was told by some parents that the Bishop Sycamore players were too old, but he was assured by school spokesman Andre Peterson that was not the case. 

‘I trusted him and we got through the game without any incident,’ Tyrell said.  



Source link

What do you think?

Written by bourbiza

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

‘Psychotic’ gun dealer, 51, shot dead wife, 41, over tissues around their Grade II-listed farmhouse

Trump demands Biden apologize to America for his humiliating Afghanistan withdrawal