At least two Bishop Sycamore football players appeared to have been recruited by major college football programs as questions swirl over the legitimacy of the Ohio school.
24/7 Sports’ college football recruiting website showed at least two players from the school being recruited by big programs who play in the Football Bowl Subdivision – wide receivers Armond Scott and Jeremy Naborne.
Scott was listed as having been recruited by Syracuse. He confirmed as much in June when he thanked the Orange for giving him an offer. The tweet was liked by two Syracuse coaches. Scott said he reclassified to the class of 2022 when his age was questioned online.
Naborne has been highly recruited, according to 24/7 Sports. He reportedly received offers from Tennessee and TCU.
Naborne was listed on the roster provided to the media for its game against Archbishop Hoban earlier in August. Scott was not.
The high-level recruiting appeared to push back on the notion the school was “fake.” Andre Peterson, the director and founder of Bishop Sycamore, said flatly to USA Today on Monday the school was not a “scam.”
“There’s nothing that I’ve gotten out of this that would constitute it as a scam because I’m not gaining anything financially from what we’re doing. The reality of it is that I have a son (Javan) that’s also in the program and has been in the program for four years,” he said.
“If it’s a scam and the kids are not going to school and not doing what they’re supposed to do, then I’m literally scamming myself. And most importantly, I’m hurting my own son. So when people say stuff like that … I would literally be taking my son’s future and throwing it in the trash.”
As of Thursday, the school didn’t appear to have a working website but the football team was advertising a site to sell merchandise.
“We have to make sure that website also includes the academic part of it. There’s things that you learn,” Peterson told USA Today. “There’s growing pains that you have. We realized that’s an issue. The reality of it is we’ve caused some of the questions by not doing some of the things that should have been done before. So that’s understandable. I totally get that. We have to make it an actual school website.”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called for the state’s Department of Education to investigate the school.
“Like many Ohioans, I am concerned by the recent reports and questions raised about Bishop Sycamore. While this weekend’s football game brought concerns about the health and safety of players, it also raised red flags about the school’s operations,” DeWine said in a statement Tuesday. “Schools like Bishop Sycamore have an obligation under Ohio law to meet certain minimum standards. Whether Bishop Sycamore meets these standards is not clear. I have asked the Ohio Department of Education to conduct an investigation into Bishop Sycamore to ensure compliance with Ohio law and to ensure the school is providing the educational opportunities Ohio students deserve.”
Bishop Sycamore has had each of its remaining opponents drop out amid the fallout from the IMG Academy game that appeared on ESPN. According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Bishop Sycamore’s first game against Archbishop Hoban didn’t count because Bishop Sycamore was not affiliated with the Ohio High School Athletic Association and was listed as an online-only charter school.