Bishop Sycamore lost four high school football opponents on Tuesday following the debacle from its appearance against one of the top programs in the nation.
DeMatha Catholic, Duncanville, Liberty and Johnson Central all decided to cancel games with Bishop Sycamore, according to Max Preps. Bishop Sycamore had a schedule filled with top-tier programs across the U.S., but after losing to IMG Academy 58-0 and the revelation the school duped a marketing agency to be put into a national television slot, the handful of teams have reconsidered playing the school.
“We have been doing a lot of researching, and after discussing it with our coaching staff, we decided to cancel that game with Bishop Sycamore because they have ineligible players and it would be a liability issue. We think this is the right decision,” DeMatha Carolina president Fr. James R. Day told USA Today.
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The dropouts came as Bishop Sycamore head coach Roy Johnson was fired. It was revealed Johnson had an active warrant out for his arrest and he was facing a civil lawsuit for allegedl fraud.
Andre Peterson, who is the founder director of the school as well as an assistant coach, told USA Today on Tuesday that Johnson was no longer with the team. Peterson said he made the decision after the IMG Academy game Sunday but wanted to wait until he had one more conversation with Johnson before making the parting final.
The Ohio school had come under fire after it appeared to dupe a marketing agency into putting it into a spotlight game against IMG Academy. Paragon Marketing Group did the scheduling for the GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff, and not ESPN, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
“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,” ESPN said in a statement. “They have assured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward.”
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Rashid Ghazi, the president of Paragon, told Awful Announcing he wishes he would’ve done more research into Bishop Sycamore before the game and said the organization was unaware the team had also played Friday night.
According to Awful Announcing, ESPN said it voiced its concerns about Bishop Sycamore when it couldn’t find any information about the school. Bishop Sycamore reportedly bailed on a conference call and provided a fact sheet before Sunday’s game claiming some of its players have been recruited by Division I schools.
Peterson pushed back on allegations the school was 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.”
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According to Max Preps, Bishop Sycamore still had St. Edward, St. Thomas More and St. Frances Academy on its schedule.