This week, the anticipated documentary ‘BS High’ airs on Max. HBO Sports’ film about the football team that tricked ESPN and others on the way to playing high school football is being talked about all over.
Like with any documentary, though, there are several events that aren’t highlighted in ‘BS High’ that were noteworthy along the way. Here are seven things that were omitted from the heavily anticipated documentary.
1. Roy Johnson recently filed for bankruptcy
Former OHSAA administrator Ben Ferree, who tracked the story from the very beginning, recently and exclusively wrote for Awful Announcing that Roy Johnson filed for bankruptcy. Johnson, of course, was the head coach of the Bishop Sycamore football team. According to Ferree, Johnson filed for bankruptcy on July 25, 2023.
2. Months before the IMG Academy game, Roy Johnson tried hiring former Ohio State QB Cardale Jones
Former Ohio State star Cardale Jones could have found himself involved in the Bishop Sycamore ordeal, and perhaps you forgot about that. Jones admitted on the Letterman Row podcast that Johnson offered him a job as the offensive coordinator for the team in spring 2021.
Awful Announcing wrote of it:
Even as Bishop Sycamore’s financial issues compounded, school leaders refused to capitulate, with Peterson and Johnson developing even more audacious plans in the hopes of ushering the football program further onto the national stage. During an appearance on the Letterman Row podcast, former Ohio State standout Cardale Jones said he declined an $85,000 offer to become the offensive coordinator at Bishop Sycamore in the spring of 2021, a detail Jones later confirmed in a phone call with Awful Announcing owner and editor Ben Koo (Jones passed on the job knowing he was still pursuing a playing career).
3. Bishop Sycamore often played multiple games over one weekend, and even bragged about it on local TV
It wasn’t as if Bishop Sycamore was doing this all in the dark and moving in silence. Oftentimes, they participated in multiple games over the course of one weekend. Which, if it sounds unheard of for football, it probably should, or at least should be a giant red flag.
“Playing multiple games over the course of a weekend wasn’t a new thing for the program, either. Peterson and members of the team made a media appearance in between two games Bishop Sycamore played over a three-day span in 2019. The following weekend, the program again played two weekend games, wrapping a 10-day stretch in which the team played four games.”
The team even went so far as to boast about it on local television.
4. Elephant in the room… IMG Academy already played Bishop Sycamore in 2020. They whooped them, then scheduled them again, but this time on TV
In October 2020, IMG Academy absolutely flattened Bishop Sycamore on the football field. They won 56-6 in an uncompetitive rout. After that butt-whooping the two schools then infamously met again on national television. IMG, of course, beat Bishop Sycamore 58-0 in that famed drubbing, which eventually helped break the story. But, safe to say, IMG Academy had the chance to raise suspicions themselves. IMG went through with it, though, and took them down both times.
5. Bishop Sycamore players once refused to play a game for fear of injury
In 2018, COF Academy (the predecessor to Bishop Sycamore) was forced to forfeit a game they had scheduled against an elite high school program. They were tabled to play St. Frances High School in Baltimore, but half the team refused to get off the bus to play them out of fear of injury. From our article last year:
When the two programs were scheduled to play in 2018, COF showed up more than two hours late to the game with half of the team refusing to get off of the team bus for fear of injury, resulting in a 9:30 p.m. forfeit. The difference in resources couldn’t have been more stark on that night, and it didn’t seem to improve the next three seasons, either.
This was a persistent issue that the team faced throughout their existence. Players would often come and go, and they had difficulties keeping their team together.
6. Players who played in the IMG Academy game, who had been flown in from other countries hours before the game, had not practiced with the team, or had been fitted with equipment
Before the infamous game against IMG Academy, Bishop Sycamore once again struggled to fill out a roster of players. So the team decided to pivot. Literally, out of the country, as they sought players from Europe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Short on players, Bishop Sycamore even flew two new players in from Europe the day between the Sto-Rox and IMG games, according to multiple players from last year’s team. Both would go on to play in the IMG game despite not having taken part in a single practice.”
7. Bishop Sycamore’s murky reputation was not a secret
Ferree had worked on the case for several years before everything blew up in 2019. In August 2021, Feree said he “spent the better part of three years” investigating the situation. And things always seemed suspicious.
Ferree said on the situation, at one point:
They had an address that they reported to have school out of. I go to that address and no one is there. I ask the people there if they’ve ever heard of these people, and they said “No, never heard of them. There’s no school here.” Which led to them obviously being declared not a school for OHSAA purposes, and led to their school charter being revoked by the Ohio Department of Education.
Ferree said at the time that there was “no good reason” for the decision makers going through with the games, but most schools would rather play a team than have a bye week. Which of course led to scheduling the games. And an employee of the OHSAA telling everyone that it was a scam suggests that it was just an open secret until the lid finally blew off.