Bishop Sycamore could be the target of an investigation by the Ohio Department of Education as Gov. Mike DeWine called for officials to look into the charter school.
DeWine said in a statement Tuesday he was “concerned” about the reports about Bishop Sycamore following the football team’s 58-0 loss to IMG Academy two days after the school had played another high school in Pennsylvania.
“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. “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.”
Since the debacle on national television, Bishop Sycamore has come under fire over whether it was actually a real school. The school’s address was linked to a Columbus indoor sports facility with no classrooms, and the school wasn’t listed by the state’s department of education as a charter school, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
It was listed last year as a “non-chartered, non-tax supported school.” Former coach Roy Johnson told the newspaper that enrollment for the school begins Sept. 1 and the schooling will be done online via Excel.
Andre Peterson, who is the founder and director of the school as well as an assistant coach, told USA Today on Tuesday that Johnson was no longer with the team. Johnson had been linked to an arrest warrant and a civil lawsuit alleging fraud.
Peterson also defended the school, saying it wasn’t 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.”
Bishop Sycamore lost four opponents since last weekend’s debacle.