If you do that in JIRA core, you're just creating an issue type. It happens to be called "EPIC", but you could equally call it "Mr Flibble" if you wanted. In JIRA core, there is no technical distinction between issue types.
JIRA Software has a huge pile of code for doing things in an Agile way. That includes all the Epic behaviours such as "issues in Epic", stories, points and so-on.
Hi @Melissa McGough,
Without having direct access to your instance, I can't confirm 100% why this would be happening, but I'd guess that the reason is probably because you have the issue type Epic in your instance, and at some point someone has associated it with your JIRA Core business projects, either directly or through a default issue type scheme.
If you'd like to use Agile functionality as you described, you would need to use a JIRA Software project type.
Hope that clears it up!
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