Bishop Sycamore is not a legitimate chartered eSchool.


A Bishop Sycamore punter is upended during a football game against Akron Archbishop Hoban, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Akron, Ohio.

Bishop Sycamore

Facts matter.

ESPN learned that last week when they appeared to be duped into airing a high school football matchup between Florida’s IMG Academy and Ohio’s Bishop Sycamore.

More:New Bishop Sycamore coach: ‘We are not a school. That’s not what Bishop Sycamore is’

IMG Academy won 58-0. The fall out was swift and fierce. Bishop Sycamore’s coach was fired, and reports of civil lawsuits abounded.

The school found opponents cancelling upcoming contests in light of questions about the school’s players. And the name became the basis for hundreds of much-laughed-at internet memes.

But the confusion hasn’t yet been completely cleared up.

More:OHSAA says schools still allowed to play Bishop Sycamore

Bishop Sycamore was described last year as an “online-only charter school.” This made its way into many stories about the ESPN affair and prompted opponents of school choice to hurl another round of accusations against eSchools.

Here’s the thing – like so much else about this situation, it’s a smokescreen.

Bishop Sycamore isn’t an eSchool in the traditional sense of the word. They receive no tax dollars. They’re not chartered. They have no traditional public-school sponsor.

The Ohio Department of Education refers to Bishop Sycamore, appropriately, as a “non-chartered, non-tax supported school.”

Bishop Sycamore is a private, religious, online charter school; it’s not accredited by the state.

Ohio’s public full-time online schools like Ohio Virtual Academy and Ohio Connections Academy do receive taxpayer funds. They are fully accredited, tuition-free options for Ohio students who want to attend a public school online. They’re measured by state report card standards and are accountable to the Ohio Department of Education.

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