Bishop Sycamore high school football team controversy continues

Massillon's Reece Turpin closes in on Columbus Bishop Sycamore's Daivon Lowman during a game Sept. 3, 2020.

Ray Holtzclaw first heard from Roy Johnson when his son, Judah, was a sophomore at Westerville Central in 2018.

Johnson, at the time running a program called COF Academy, was interested in Judah becoming COF’s starting quarterback. But the Holtzclaws were happy with things at Westerville Central, so the conversations didn’t progress.

After COF Academy fell apart, Johnson turned his attention to a new program in the same mold — Bishop Sycamore. Alongside Andre Peterson, the duo continued working on their model for a football program. 

Bishop Sycamore:Director says football program is not a ‘scam’

That model was exposed on ESPN Sunday afternoon, as Bishop Sycamore lost 58-0 to IMG Academy in a game that prompted a national conversation about Bishop Sycamore’s legitimacy and raised questions about how the team came to be highlighted on ESPN. During the game, ESPN commentator Anish Shroff admitted that ESPN had been unable to verify Bishop Sycamore’s claims that they have multiple Division I prospects on the roster, and he and others on air said they worried for the safety of the overmatched players from Columbus.