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Bishop Sycamore back? Virginia high school coach says it has disgraced team on schedule

Coach at Life Christian Academy in Chester, Virginia tells Richmond Times-Dispatch his school has home game with Bishop Sycamore Nov. 9

The Bishop Sycamore saga ... continues?

A Virginia high school football coach told a local newspaper it has scheduled an upcoming game with the now-disgraced football program.

Yes, the same Bishop Sycamore that rose to infamy in 2021 scandal and was at the center in the documentary "B.S. High," which released on HBO Max in August

David Fitzgerald, head coach at Life Christian Academy in Chester, Virginia, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch in a story published Wednesday that his team is playing Bishop Sycamore on Nov. 9 at Virginia State University.

In comments to the newspaper, Fitzgerald evoked his school's Christian roots and said the embattled Bishop Sycamore deserves a second chance:

"Bishop Sycamore, they're in a rebuilding process, and they basically have worked with a very reputable company that matches high school football games up. ... They're looking to rebound and possibly enter into a league we play in. We needed to fill a game, and we were presented with the opportunity. We spoke with their coaching staff and felt comfortable that they were legitimately moving forward in the right direction ... We're a Christian school, we believe in second chances, and we wanted to make this happen."

—Life Christian Academy (Virginia) coach David Fitzgerald to the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Life Christian Academy is 1-7 Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association member school, but doesn't qualify for the VISAA postseason because it does not schedule enough games (at least half) against in-state competition.

According to the Times-Dispatch, "local coaches and ADs have in the past been resistant to scheduling LCA because they're skeptical as to the program's academic and eligibility standards," citing its history of acquiring transfer students locally and out-of-state.

Bishop Sycamore does not appear to have an active online presence or any information about a 2023 team. Its last public tweet was in Sept. 2022.

Bishop Sycamore went viral and had its legitimacy called into question after a losing 58-0 in an ESPN-televised game in which its own announcers questioned the safety and legitimacy of the purportedly Columbus, Ohio-based high school football program.

The attention spurred investigations, first by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, then by the state of Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Education determined Bishop Sycamore determined the school was a scam and a web of fraud accusations and lawsuits piled up around the school's founder and one-time head coach Roy Johnson.

This is a developing story.

-- Andy Buhler | | @sbliveoh