School examined after ESPN rash a ‘scam’, says Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – An Ohio school whose legitimacy came under scrutiny after its allegedly top-tier soccer team was beaten in an ESPN televised game also failed to live up to its bill : It turned out to be “a scam,” according to an investigation by the Ohio Department of Education.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he is asking the attorney general and other officials to determine whether any laws were broken by what claimed to be Bishop Sycamore High School in the Columbus area. DeWine also said he would work with state education officials and lawmakers to adopt the changes recommended by the department to avoid a repeat of the situation.

“Ohio families should be able to count that our schools educate students and not just exist in name as a vehicle for high school sports,” DeWine said in a written statement Friday.

The state has found no evidence that Bishop Sycamore enrolled multiple students this year and concluded that he did not meet minimum standards, including for academic offerings and student safety, according to the investigation. ODE. launched after the team’s 58-0 televised loss at the Florida-based central IMG Academy in August.

Bishop Sycamore’s report filed with the ministry for that school year listed only one student enrolled and listed his physical address as a house in a residential neighborhood.

In a call with a department official last month, Bishop Sycamore administrator Andre Peterson described his program as a way to gain more visibility for football players who were struggling to get into the clubs. colleges, according to the ODE report.

Messages requesting comment were left in Peterson on Saturday by phone and through the school’s email address. In previous comments reported by USA TODAY Sports, Peterson had denied that there had been a “scam” at the unbalanced football game or at the school, saying it helped players hoping to compete in college.

He identified himself with the ODE as a “chartered, non-tax-funded school,” a category which is largely outside the oversight of the ministry and which allows some typical operating systems to be bypassed due to ” deeply held religious beliefs ”. But the department said it couldn’t determine whether Bishop Sycamore had such beliefs.

ODE concluded that Bishop Sycamore was not a school but “a way for students to play football against high school teams and potentially increase the chances of students playing football at the college level.”

“The cost of this dream for these students was not just the tuition fees charged to attend school,” the department said in its report on Friday. “The prize was the education that the students were entitled to receive.”

The department also noted that these schools are not under his supervision and do not require his approval, and that it does not have the power under state law to sanction Bishop Sycamore.

The changes recommended by the ODE included amending state law to allow the department to monitor whether the hundreds of schools claiming to be unlicensed and tax-funded schools meet more relaxed minimum standards for this category and to require corrective action if necessary.

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