Apparent fake school Bishop Sycamore got calendar from IMG Academy
BRADENTON, FL – IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Is “the world’s most prestigious athletic, performance and educational institution,” according to its website.
“With our world-renowned boarding school and reputable athletic camps, IMG continues to set the standard for academic, athletic and total personal development among young student-athletes.”
The school has a number of former and current NFL players as alumni, including a record seven former players who were selected in the NFL Draft earlier this year.
So it was no surprise that ESPN wanted to showcase the power of football and its multiple confirmed NCAA Division I rookies, in one game this season.
But the school selected to face IMG on national television on Sunday afternoon is anything but a football powerhouse. And apparently it can be anything but a real high school.
Bishop Sycamore took the field against IMG in Canton, Ohio on Sunday before being heavily beaten, 58-0. Reports quickly surfaced that not only did Bishop Sycamore seemingly lied about how many Division I recruits they had, they were not even listed as an educational institution by the Ministry of the Ohio Education. There is no charter school registered in Ohio under the name of Bishop Sycamore.
The school address listed on the MaxPreps website that tracks high school sports teams across the country matches a building on the Franklin University campus in Columbus, Ohio, with a separate address previously posted on the site. Bishop Sycamore’s web as a PO Box.
A day earlier, the Bishop Sycamore’s website looked a lot more like a football blog than something related to an educational institution. The tab under ‘schedule’ was left blank, although other press reports confirmed that the football team had played a few games in recent years.
Further investigations by various news outlets later revealed that head coach Bishop Sycamore had an active arrest warrant on the national broadcast, the team had played a game in Pennsylvania just two days before the IMG contests, and many players are junior dropouts. who are past high school age.
So how did an established football powerhouse like IMG Academy end up with such an unusual entity on its schedule that features a number of matches against some of the top football schools in the country?
IMG Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Patch on Tuesday. It didn’t address their process of checking schedules, or whether anyone affiliated with the Bradenton-based boarding school had ever heard of their opponent from Ohio.
Despite national attention surrounding a win over a less-than-organized team, IMG had not, as of 5 p.m. Monday, deleted a tweet from Sunday celebrating the shutout victory.
Despite little evidence of such a school’s existence, Bishop Sycamore founder Andre Peterson has denied that his entity finding its way on ESPN was a scam.
“There is nothing that I got out of that that would be a scam because I don’t earn anything financially from what we do,” Peterson told USA Today, insisting that a number of students depended on the services of Bishop Sycamore.
“We have to make sure that this website includes the academic part as well. There are things you learn,” he said. “We need to make this a real school website.”
Bishop Sycamore was founded in 2019, said Peterson. Its actual location is private to protect students who were harassed at their old location, the founder also told USA Today. He said the school was renting space in a building in the Easton neighborhood of Columbus.
Last year, a “Bishop Sycamore” was listed by the Education Department as an unlicensed, non-tax-funded school, the Columbus Dispatch reported. It is part of a category of schools which “because of truly entrenched religious beliefs, choose not to be approved by the State Board of Education”.
ESPN has learned that Bishop Sycamore is an online charter school, according to multiple reports.
While the self-proclaimed “world leader in sport” was the most ridiculed by such an incident (he apologized and took some responsibility), less has been said about how IMG got involved in an incident. also puzzling saga.
“You should be embarrassed to schedule this game,” said a comment on Twitter.
IMG’s national schedule includes games against most of the state’s teams. He’ll be in Ohio again this weekend to take on Cincinnati’s La Salle High School, a well-known and recognized school.
But Bishop Sycamore’s game was the only one to air on ESPN, as his infamy could take IMG some time to live.