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Coach of mysterious Ohio football team says Bishop Sycamore is not a school

Head coach Tyren Jackson, who described Bishop Sycamore as a "post-grad football academy," said he was unaware the program filed as a private school with the state Education Department.

The head coach of a mysterious Ohio prep football team that played on national TV said Monday that Bishop Sycamore is not actually a school but what he described as a "post-grad football academy."

More than a week ago, the team from Columbus was defeated soundly by Florida powerhouse IMG Academy in a game that was televised on ESPN, which immediately raised questions about how Bishop Sycamore could make it to the national stage with virtually no credentials.

"We do not offer curriculum," Tyren Jackson told NBC affiliate WCMH of Columbus. "We are not a school. That's not what Bishop Sycamore is, and I think that's what the biggest misconception about us was, and that was our fault. Because that was a mistake on paperwork."

Jackson, who did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment Tuesday, told WCMH that he was hired seven months ago and that he was unaware that the program had filed as a private school with the state Education Department.

He said he did not know that a bell schedule and a building address were associated with the school, adding that Bishop Sycamore would not file for paperwork this academic year to be considered as a school.

"I won't speak on stuff I don't know about," Jackson said. "Like I said, if it was something that happened like that, then that's terrible. That's not how you do business."

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called for a state investigation last Tuesday. Jackson said he intended to fully cooperate.

A number of schools have dropped Bishop Sycamore from their schedules. Even though its season appears to be over, Jackson said, the football team is going to continue to practice.

"A lot of it, you can say, was self-inflicted, and I'm willing to say that," Jackson said. "But at the same time, that's probably from a head-down type of thing. Don't attack these kids. Don't take that part from them now that they don't have a season, possibly.

"Once the smoke clears, we're national news. Whoever does schedule us next will be national news," he said.

Andre Peterson, who is listed as Bishop Sycamore's point of contact in Education Department records, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.