The story of Bishop Sycamore might be the craziest sports anecdote of 2021. An alleged “fake” high school from Columbus, Ohio, set the internet ablaze after the school fooled ESPN into airing one of its games against powerhouse IMG Academy by telling it it had several Division I athletes on its roster. ESPN announcers admitted on the broadcast that they couldn’t confirm that information, which seemed to be the first of many alleged lies told by Bishop Sycamore. Several issues like age concerns, playing two games in a span of three days, and even the team’s coach allegedly having an arrest record rose to the surface.
Not to mention, the school was known as COF Academy before getting shut down in 2018. Aaron Boyd, who claims to be the first-ever player recruited by Bishop Sycamore, has been exposing the dark secrets of Bishop Sycamore ever since he left.
“Everybody that knows me already knows this,” Boyd told Complex. “It’s just the fact now it’s on a greater scale, I have to say something.”
Indeed, Boyd had plenty to say. From the recruiting lies to the lack of education to the inhumane living conditions, he is exposing it all. We talked to the former Bishop Sycamore player about the other side of the program.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
So what years did you play there?
I played there my junior year of high school. I played there 2018-19 season. I was 15 going on 16.
How’d you find out about them?
Before they were Bishop Sycamore, they were COF Academy. They had these coaches come from COF. I was at an Adidas All-American camp and they came and recruited me.
But why did you go there? What appealed to you about that school?
At first, they had, like, brochures and a plan. N***a, they sent me books with, like, shit on how the school was supposed to look—blueprints and everything. They told us we was gonna be on Netflix; they recruited us telling us we were gonna be on a show. They told us we’re gonna be the IMG of the Midwest. They lied to me and my mama.
Was this a relocation for you?
Yeah. I had to move out of my city.
So when you got there, what was the campus like? Did they even have a building at the time?
There was no building. Aight, listen to this. This is the crazy shit. This what you wanna hear. I first moved out there, we were staying in a hotel in Delaware [Ohio]. We were staying there for, like, five months.
Five months. Didn’t have no housing. All the players came to find out we never paid the hotel. [The school was] writing them bounced checks. The head coach of Bishop Sycamore wasn’t the head coach. He was, like, an athletic director. He was the n***a that was behind all of it. He was writing bounced checks for everything. For everything. We never paid for anything.
I saw that there allegedly was an arrest warrant for fraud charges, so that’s accurate to you?
Yeah, that’s accurate. I didn’t know what the warrant was for, but if it’s for writing bounced checks, that’s accurate. This man scammed a whole church. We had funding from a church—that’s how we were doing everything from the beginning.