It's the story that sports fans flat out can't get enough of: It's Bishop Sycamore high school, a fake school, that essentially duped ESPN into putting its game on TV on Sunday.
If you missed the full details, you can click here, but here's what you need to know: When ESPN's own announcers are basically calling out their company for putting you on their airwaves, you know it's bad.
By Monday morning ESPN had released a statement explaining what went wrong, essentially blaming it on the marketing company that plans the games, Paragon. But as more details continue to emerge, this story only gets wilder.
First off, there is the school itself. Which isn't really a school, according to an article from the Columbus Dispatch. According to the article, there is no chartered school listed as "Bishop Sycamore" for the 2021-2022 school year, although there was one last year.
Here are the full details, per the Dispatch:
The Ohio Department of Education lists no charter school by that name, but last year the department listed Bishop Sycamore as a "non-chartered, non-tax supported school," a type of school that "because of truly held religious beliefs, choose to not be chartered by the State Board of Education."
Each non-chartered, non-tax supported school must certify in a report to parents at the start of each school year that it meets the Ohio school operating standards in a report that must be filed with the Ohio Department of Education. No one from the department's communications office returned a telephone call Monday, and it was unclear if Bishop Sycamore filed that report.
Non-chartered, non-tax supported schools must report their students' participation and attendance to their local school district treasurer, which for Bishop Sycamore the state lists as Columbus City Schools. Columbus schools couldn't immediately say whether the school filed anything with it for last school year.
Oh, you know, just a school that is not chartered or can even be acknowledged by the local school district, playing Sunday afternoon against IMG on ESPN.
No big deal.
The next question probably becomes this: Well, if there is no school, how did they get together a football team?
While that's a little unclear (although we'll provide the few fuzzy details we have in a minute) here is a bit more.
Apparently, the school lists a work out facility as an official address, and holds the occasional workout.
Like, once-a-month kind of workout. This again, from the Dispatch article:
The state lists Bishop Sycamore's mailing address as a post office box, and its "physical address" as 3599 Chiller Lane in Columbus — the address of Resolute Athletic Complex, an indoor sports facility near Easton Town Center.
An official there who didn't want to be named said a football team-sized group of about 30 kids work out in the complex's weight room and turf fields about once a month, but no school classes have ever been located at the site.
Finally, there are the players, and you're probably wondering "What kind of kid would sign up for this kind of deal?"
Well sadly, mostly a bunch of kids that frankly, probably don't have very many other options.
We got some details on that Monday as well.
Reading some other articles, it appears as though a lot of these kids are simply looking for one last shot, some of them illegitimately and others because things like Covid wiped out their senior seasons a year ago.
Regardless, I know we say all the time that "this is the wildest story we've ever seen."
But Bishop Sycamore might really take the cake.
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