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RMU Sentry Media

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RMU Sentry Media

Review: “BS High” Paints a Wicked Portrait of High School Football

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Bishop Sycamore football team on Instragram

“We get our a** kicked, they plaster me all over there, the New York Times writes a story about me, calling me crazy, calling me a con artist, we still win. Do you know why? Because the gang got me on the phone with Michael Strahan, and now I’m talking to you. I love it. I love it when a plan comes together.” – Roy Johnson, “BS High”

HBO has made a documentary on Bishop Sycamore. We all likely know the story, whether that is just knowing a “fake” high school in Ohio existed or the full story about Roy Johnson as head coach. Whichever category you find yourself in, we can certainly learn from this story.

It may be obvious to say that, yes, we get told the story about the infamous IMG Academy game that Bishop Sycamore played in. In the BS High documentary, we also get a look into just how evil the leaders of Bishop Sycamore are.

We first hear the story of COF Academy, which became Bishop Sycamore after it became known in and around Columbus that this was a fake high school. It had no actual school building and simply played football. Now you might be asking how they even got players to play, and that was answered in the documentary. The way they got anyone to actually come play for them was that they had renderings of an IMG-like building. Some of you may not know what IMG is, and it is an academy in Bradenton, Florida, that is as close as you can get to being a college.

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You also might be asking how COF got any money, which actually has a simple answer. At first, COF and Roy Johnson had good intentions; they were supported financially by the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). This might seem weird at first, but Roy Johnson actually worked for the AME as a fundraiser and developer to build up the church in and around Columbus. The intentions of the school were like those of the Propel schools in and around Pittsburgh; COF was meant to provide an opportunity for troubled kids, specifically boys. Now until this point, you might be saying to yourself, “his sounds like all good intentions,” which it was until the AME pulled out and so did Roy Johnson’s business partner. Roy saw kids in tough situations, whether that be bad grades or financial challenges. These kids were just looking for another chance with their football career after high school, and Roy took advantage of that.

So now that you know the whole story, where or why did it go wrong? The main thing was finances. Roy did not have the money to actually run an academy, and neither did the kids. This led to many of the kids taking out COVID-19 loans from the government for food and living expenses. Now, because of this, many of the kids are in perilous debt and have no chance of playing football again. The biggest thing that was shown was the problem that all high school athletes face. That being said, everyone who is playing has the goal of playing Division One; they all have the goal of playing at the highest level, and they and their parents will do whatever it takes to get there.

This is where the problem is: you have people like Roy who “know” what it takes to get to the next level because they know people who have made it. They use this relationship to open up academies or club teams and charge crazy high fees, all for nothing. As someone who did play AAU basketball and travel baseball, I can say that playing in these types of organizations takes the fun away. It makes everything feel like a job, like if you mess up, it’s all over. The connection to Bishop Sycamore may not seem like it is there, but when you and your parents are in high school sports so consistently, you cannot see the forest for the trees, and you will do whatever it takes, whatever amount of money it takes, to get to the next level.

If you have gone through this yourself or want to find out more about what really happened with Bishop Sycamore, I highly suggest you check out “BS High” on HBO Max.

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About the Contributor
Garrett Sherwin, Staff Writer
Garrett is a transfer student from Harrison City Pa, he is a Sports Management major. Garrett can be found on RMU Radio and RMU Tv. Garrett can be found working with CSN as he loves to cover basketball.