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Wednesday 24 July, 2024
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Who is Roy Johnson? Bishop Sycamore coach

BY Salman Ahmed Aug 22, 2023. 01:36 am UPDATED: Aug 22, 2023. 01:36 am

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A high school football team from Ohio made news in 2021 for all the wrong reasons.

Roy Johnson was the team’s coach and the suspected mastermind behind the Bishop Sycamore hoax.

Who is former Bishop Sycamore coach Roy Johnson?

Roy Johnson is most well-known for his work with Bishop Sycamore.

He launched the school in 2018 as Christians of Faith Academy, but after two years, it was renamed Bishop.

Johnson previously worked as an insurance salesman and a qualified healthcare provider before joining Bishop.

Additional information about his personal life is currently unavailable.

What was the Bishop Sycamore scandal?

Bishop Sycamore was formed on the promise of being the best high school football school in the country.

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Athletes were enticed by Johnson’s claims of Netflix specials and becoming Division I-caliber athletes, but it all proved out to be a big hoax in the end.

The school’s reputation was skewed, and the world learned about it on August 29, 2021, when Bishop lost 58-0 against high school superpower IMG Academy during an ESPN broadcast.

That game eventually led to an investigation by the Ohio Department of Education, which concluded in a report that the institution was a “scam.”

“Unfortunately, the facts suggest that Bishop Sycamore High School was and is, in fact, a scam,” the Ohio Department of Education said in its report, via The New York Times.

At the time, Johnson refused to comment on the situation, saying in an interview that “everything will come out” in Michael Strahan’s HBO documentary, BS High.

“Different people’s perspectives,” he said.

Marysol Atkins, the mother of Rodney Atkins, the school’s former quarterback, told The Times in an interview that the ordeal caused her son- who had moved from the Bronx to Ohio to attend Bishop- to second-guess everything because he believed in something that turned out to be a lie.

“These boys believed in something, and they fought hard to end up with nothing,” Atkins said.

“I think it’s easy on the outside to say: Why didn’t you think? Why didn’t you put a stop to it? When you’re in it, you think you’re part of a team, part of something that’s life-changing for the kids.

“It was going to be groundbreaking, something that’s never been done before. Something where people of color are going to be able to achieve something this great.”

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Among the promises that Johnson made to the players was a state-of-the-art workout facility, that was supposed to be built in the near future.

In the meantime, the athletes were taken to a nearby health club and given key cards, but The Times reports that they never returned.

“He kept acting like the money was supposed to come,” Atkins said of Johnson.

“‘I don’t know what the holdup is. I’m trying to get a loan to cover it.’ It was always, like, him seeming to feel as desperate as we were. He’d disappear and say I’m trying to figure out a way.”

In addition to a faulty football program, Bishop’s academics were also not up to standards.

The Times reports that students were set up with accounts for online learning, but no one was monitoring those accounts to see if the students were attending class or doing the work.

“This is a snapshot of what happens to youth sports in the inner city,” Tara Tripaldi, a former teacher of former Bishop running back Mario Agyen added.

“There’s a lot of money and greed. Some of these coaches are chasing the same dreams as the kids. That being said, kids in the inner city don’t have access to that training.

“When someone comes along and says I’m going to take you out of the Bronx, you can play at a Division I school, these kids jump at it. It can not only change their life, but their family’s life.”

Before Bishop, there was the Christians of Faith Academy, which was founded by Johnson under the same suspicious circumstances.

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“It is using the exact same methods, the exact same schemes with the exact same people,” Ben Ferree, who investigated COF Academy while working at the Ohio High School Athletic Association, told USA Today.

“In some of Bishop Sycamore’s early games in 2019, the first season that they played, they wore COF Academy’s uniforms. So yeah, it is the exact same scam. They simply changed the name.”

When did Roy Johnson leave Bishop Sycamore?

Just days after Bishop’s controversial loss, Johnson was fired from the school’s program.

At the time, Andre Peterson, Bishop Sycamore’s director, told USA Today that his poor job of tracking injuries played a role.

“There were a lot of things played a part in it,” Peterson said.

“Roy has honestly been like a little brother to me in the sense that when really we were launching Bishop Sycamore, there were some things that we wanted to do better and could have done better,” he added.

“I value him as a person, but I just thought right now he needed to step down, he needed to go. We just decided to mutually part ways.”

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