LAKEWOOD, Ohio — As questions swirl around the Bishop Sycamore football program’s legitimacy, multiple high schools have dropped the Columbus-based team from their schedule.
The latest school to axe Bishop Sycamore from its schedule is Cleveland-area power St. Edward, which last won a state title in 2018. St. Edward had Bishop Sycamore on its schedule for Sept. 25, but the high school’s athletic director Kevin Hickman confirmed with Spectrum News 1 it is “actively searching for another opponent.”
St. Edward played Bishop Sycamore during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, easily defeating the team from Columbus 35-8 by amassing a 35-0 lead before halftime.
Other well-established Ohio programs have taken on Bishop Sycamore in the last two years. Earlier this year, Hoban defeated Bishop Sycamore 38-0. Last season, Massillon defeated Bishop Sycamore 35-0 and St. Ignatius won its matchup against Bishop Sycamore 33-6.
Bishop Sycamore has seen several of its opponents back out in recent days. One of those opponents, Duncanville (Texas), addressed why it needed to cancel its Sept. 10 contest.
“Student safety is our top priority and I can’t ask our student athletes to take the field next week without knowing more about who they will be facing,” said Duncanville ISD Athletic Director Dwight Weaver. “Our school district’s core values speak to honesty, integrity, ethics and providing a safe environment for students. This situation calls into question many of those values, so we are canceling this game.”
Duncanville added that it has been unable to reach representatives from Bishop Sycamore.
DeMatha (D.C.) and Johnson Central (Ky.) have also announced they have canceled their upcoming games against Bishop Sycamore.
Scrutiny over Bishop Sycamore arose on Sunday amid a blowout loss to Florida-based IMG Academy. ESPN broadcasters revealed during the game that they were told Bishop Sycamore had a number of Division I college prospects, which ESPN could not verify.
As reporters from this and other news outlets have been unable to verify the legitimacy of the high school, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called on the Ohio Department of Education to investigate Bishop Sycamore.
“Like many Ohioans, I am concerned by the recent reports and questions raised about Bishop Sycamore,” DeWine said in a statement. “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. 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.”