Just when you thought one of the wildest stories of 2021 couldn’t get any crazier, the Bishop Sycamore plot has thickened. After serious backlash from the public, Roy Johnson has reportedly been fired from the coaching position at Bishop Sycamore, but according to several of my sources, that might’ve been just a smokescreen. We’ll see how long that holds up.
After our recent discussion with Aaron Boyd, a COF Academy alum who spoke out on the dark secrets behind the program, two former Bishop Sycamore players from the 2020 team reached out to us to tell their story and discuss what it was like playing for head coach Johnson. The two players asked to remain anonymous during the exchange, so we honored their request. They went into detail on the Johnson’s alleged wrongdoings and how he creates false dreams for the players who commit to his program.
So where do we begin? Why did you guys end up at Bishop Sycamore?
Player 1: Originally, I was going into my senior year. Roy Johnson has reached out to me. I wanted some more exposure. The story told was good, so it sounded like something I was interested in…
What was the story he told?
Player 1: It was you come here and play ball. If you have a chance to increase your GPA, we provide good schooling, which was not the case. We didn’t start school until months after enrolling in August. There was a brochure; they had a good format and layout. Told us where to take classes. You know what school it was?
Player 2: He told us we were gonna be doing schooling at Franklin University.
Player 1: Yeah, you asked a simple question, so I’ll stay on topic.
Nah, unleash. If you got something to say, unleash it.
Player 1: We were told we were going to come to play ball. We were supposed to be practicing at Ohio State’s facilities, but we ended up practicing right outside of the apartment complex, and there were other Ohio State students living there. Later on down the road in the season, we didn’t practice. We’d go out there once a week and we’d go straight to the games.
Player 2: Yeah. When we played IMG last year, we didn’t practice the whole week. We practiced the morning of the game and then walked out and played IMG.
Player 1: Yup, and there’s things I wish I can speak about, but that would probably be dealing with the law.
Keep it general.
Player 1: Things as in fighting. Because there’s people from everywhere that don’t get along. People that wanna be hard and all that. It’s not a brotherhood. Roy Johnson can say, “Oh, it’s a brotherhood,” but no one gets along.
The last interview I had, Aaron Boyd did say someone got damn near stabbed.
Player 1: There was an incident where… Do you think I should speak on this?
Player 2: Go ahead
Player 1: There was an incident where there was a homeless dude that tried to break into Roy’s car. That morning, we were supposed to practice, and everyone came out and… There’s videos of this, but I don’t want to release that because many players can get in trouble with the law—but they ended up jumping the homeless man and beating him.
Wait, so Roy authorized that?
Players 1 and 2: Yes
Player 1: Yeah, they ganged up on him. I would’ve understood if he handled it himself, but the players were beating on the homeless man. I wasn’t a part of it. The whole practice was cancelled because the homeless man got beat up.
Player 1: One other point I want to touch on: it’s important for our safety, right? You should feel like your players are safe. The problem we had was we didn’t have any athletic trainers. I got hurt early in the season and I ended up playing hurt the majority of the season because we didn’t have any athletic trainers. It was like go outside, go get help with one of the assistant coaches in the pool or something. Even if we were playing back-to-back games, there’s no time to recover from those games because we don’t have any trainers.
Player 2: And the eating thing there was crazy. We probably ate one hot-dog every two days.
“The eating thing there was crazy. We probably ate one hot-dog every two days.”
They didn’t feed y’all?
Player 2: Like [Aaron Boyd] said, we had to run to Target and just get food.
Player 1: That’s how it works. It may not be stealing, but it’s like, if you don’t have funds, it’s gonna be hard for you. I remember one kid came in [with] $2,000 and had nothing left in his bank account because we couldn’t eat. Another thing was the food that we ate.
Player 2: It was atrocious.
Player 2: Worse than prison food. I wouldn’t feed it to my dog. I’ll tell you this: they’ll feed us tuna salad Sunday, then try to put it on a sandwich and give it to us on Wednesday.
Player 1: Right.
Player 2: Roy’s a really good talker—I’ll give Roy that. Roy’s good with his words. Roy made me believe, but I should’ve done more research. I wasn’t one of these guys who were 18, 19—we were pretty young. We just bought the aspect. Roy knows what to say and makes your parents believe. He told us Bishop Sycamore had nothing to do with COF.
Player 1: Obviously, they had problems with providing funds. At the end of the season we played IMG, we came back from the game. One of the coaches called and said one of the players caught COVID. They still wanted to schedule games after that, risking our health. He couldn’t find any more games, so our season was over. I was one of the last ones to pack up and move out of the apartments.
The front-desk lady stopped me and said, “Do you guys know why you’re moving out?” I said, “No. Is it because there’s a lot of damage and stuff?’ She said, “I mean, yeah, that, but also, your coach hasn’t paid the apartment in three or four months, so we had to evict you guys.” I had no idea about that. I was under the impression we were fine.
That does align with what Aaron Boyd said, as he said the coaches were paying with bounced checks. The aspect of JUCO kids playing with the team, is that true?
Player 1: I’ll say this. I’ll speak on that. No kids came from a JUCO and were staying there, but a lot of the kids were just old. I know for a fact, there were kids walking around with kids of their own. One of the players last year had two kids of their own. There were four or five kids that were 20, 21, had children of their own, and came in there like they run things.
But another thing was Roy Johnson sold a false dream. At the end of season, he was like, Duquesne this, Bryant that, Akron this. “You guys wanting to [go] there, I’m in touch with all those coaches.” But it’s a couple months after the season, you don’t hear from him again. It’s ghost mode. We moved out. No one heard from him again.
What would you say is the worst thing that Roy has done while you were there?
Player 2: It’s a long list.
Go through the list
Player 2: He’s a liar. He’s a thief. Probably the worst things.
“Roy Johnson sold a false dream.”
Player 1: I think it’s selling false dreams. Like telling your players you’re gonna have X, Y, Z, we’re gonna fund this and that, and not having any of that provided for your kids. I don’t know what program the schooling is with, but not making sure your kids are getting the proper education. It’s cool to check in every once in a while to see how your kids are in school. We didn’t even start till three months after the fact. So I’d say school, selling false dreams, and funding. I think that’s the concept of lying, selling false dreams.
Why do you think he’s doing this? What does he gain from this?
Player 1: I wanna know what else Roy is doing, because for saying there’s no funding, he took out a $100,000 loan last year. Where did that money go? Stuff like that.
Player 2: I think what he benefits from is if we beat IMG and all these top teams, now people ask, “Who’s this coach?” so maybe you can land a college job at a bigger D1, D2 program. That may be in his head, but the staff says it’s for the brotherhood.
Player 1: There’s no brotherhood. There’s at least five fights every practice.
Player 2: Literally fights.
Player 1: We got evicted from the apartments we were staying in.
Player 2: During the season, there was one legit D1 player that came in. He was brought in, and he hated it immediately. He saw every flaw. There’s a lot of players coming in and out of the program. Probably started with 40, and by the end of the season, there was four or five kids coming to practice.
Did you guys hear that Roy might be out?
Player 1: Really?
Player 2: Roy was never really the head coach. Roy is never gonna be out; Roy is gonna be somewhere. He’s never gonna leave that program. He might say he’s not taking the coaching job. He might lie to make the public get off his back. But Roy is not gonna get out of that. He’s gonna be in their ears at all times.
So you would say Roy doesn’t even call plays?
Player 2: He’s behind the scenes. They literally grabbed their plays off of Madden.
Player 1: Straight to it, but you gotta pick better plays when you’re playing IMG Academy.
Why didn’t y’all speak up about it back then?
Player 1: I was a senior, so it didn’t bother me too much. The reason I didn’t speak about it was because it felt kinda pointless. I also had a good relationship with him, but I didn’t know the behind-the-scenes stuff. I didn’t want to go out there publicly and make him look bad, just because of the relationship you had.
“I think the program shouldn’t be a thing anymore.”
Go into that a bit more. What was the relationship you guys had before you knew about all this?
Player 1: For me, It was definitely good. It’s like having a mother or father, but they don’t tell you they’re struggling with the bills. You just don’t know anything.
What’s your overall assessment of Roy and who he is as a person and what needs to happen to him?
Player 2: Can I say something? We took a dude on the team that was straight out of jail and put him on the team when he graduated in 2019. Straight out of the cell. We couldn’t fly on the plane to IMG Academy because people had warrants for their arrest.
Player 2: Yes. I believe in the justice system, so if Roy was doing bounced checks and not paying his rent and doing all these crimes, I think he should go to jail.
Player 1: From my POV, Roy should shut the program down. I think the program shouldn’t be a thing anymore.