How fake high school “Bishop Sycamore” tricked ESPN


Earlier this year, fake high school Bishop Sycamore tricked ESPN by composing a team of adult players for a high school football league.

Thomas Kim, AVT Editor

Bishop Sycamore High School gained national attention across social media after their nationally aired football game on ESPN.

“It’s pretty crazy that they got away with being able to make a made up high school and play one of the best teams in the country,” said Brady Lederer (‘23)

After a devastating 58-0 loss against IMG Academy, questions about the credibility of the school spread. Bishop Sycamore claimed to have multiple Division 1 football commits, but ESPN was not able to verify that information in time for the televised game. 

“I think it would be a lot like our varsity football team playing the freshmen team,” said Lederer 

The team had players as old as 19 and 20 years old who already graduated which brought many concerns about safety. Also, Bishop Sycamore’s former coach, Roy Johnson, has an active warrant in a domestic violence case. Although the school is said to be in Columbus, Ohio, they are not associated with the Ohio High School Athletic Association. 

“It is really messed up how the coaches and the organization as a whole treated the kids,” said Jake Kramer (‘23)

Players looked for opportunities to get scholarships for football, but instead, they got unpaid bills and fees handed to them. On multiple accounts, Ray Holtzclaw, the father of a former Bishop Sycamore player, was left covering hotel and football camp fees that Bishop Sycamore said they would cover. 

“It’s definitely not fair. Adults playing against kids should not be allowed in high school sports,” said Jonny Sheppard (‘24).

Many highschools who were scheduled to play against Bishop Sycamore in the upcoming weeks backed out of the matchup due to safety and liability issues, as Bishop Sycamore’s new coach, Tyren Jackson, admitted they weren’t a legitimate school. 

“Bishop Sycamore knew what they were doing, but I feel bad that many players got injured because they weren’t prepared,” said Lederer