A high school football team is being investigated after playing in a tournament on ESPN. Bishop Sycamore High School, formerly known as COF (Christians of Faith), was believed to be a charter school for boys that would offer at-risk youth a second chance at getting into the school of their dreams with a football scholarship. After a 58-0 loss on national television it became the most controversial scandal in high school sports history.
While the owner of Bishop Sycamore may have had a good idea to offer young boys from broken homes a chance they wouldn’t usually get, it was poorly executed -and had been for years.
Savior Conley and Michael Johnson, from Columbus, Ohio, played under the Bishop Sycamore coach Roy Johnson, during the 2018/2019 school year amongst other boys recruited to play football and earn an education from all over the United States.
At the time, Conley had just graduated but was recruited under the impression that he could fix his GPA and qualify for scholarships to play ball at Florida State University. He explained, “I grew up with my grandma and played all little league, I didn’t play in high school. I graduated but I wanted to [play], I wanted to go to college with it. So this was an opportunity for me to get film for people to see me play. He sold me a dream that different scouts would come to look at me and that I could be on the next level of football. But I didn’t talk to no scouts, and I was the only player he was begging to play every game, on both sides of the ball.”
Most, if not all, of the boys chosen for this team were growing up without structured backgrounds, living in lower class neighborhoods in some of America’s biggest cities like; The Bronx in New York, Atlanta, GA and cities in California. Roy Johnson allegedly showed parents and players a digital landscape of the high school and encouraged them to believe it was being built. Families understood that classes would take place virtually, so when the team moved into hotel rooms and practices were held in different facilities no one batted an eye.
Michael Johnson was recruited to play at age 17 and says, “I left after the third game because I messed up my ankle and I just wasn’t feeling that environment anymore. We were staying in a hotel all day somewhere in Delaware. He told us that we would have computers and teachers there to help us but they just took us to see an old building that had desks in it. I [was] asking my mom, my aunt and my grandma to cashapp me money. We lived by Walmart and Kroger so we would go steal from there just to have food.”
As for the boys on the team, the only responsibility was staying out of trouble where they were living. What young Johnson didn’t know was that playing for COF would hinder his eligibility to play for the schools that had been watching him, resulting in going back to life the way it was.
“I got shot in 10th grade and didn’t play after that,” Johnson admitted, “I should’ve had my mom or myself look into [the school] more but I just went ahead and tried to get a second chance to play football and go to school.”
During the interview, both boys informed us that Roy was the owner of the team but was not the guy coaching. When they found out Roy Johnson was fired they chuckled and had one question, “How? He owns it.”
More To come as the story unfolds
PRESSD and This Only Happens In Ohio are working to give you more details as this story develops. What are your thoughts on this so far?