Quotes and Leadership Lessons from Bs High


BS High is an HBO Sports documentary that sheds light on the Bishop Sycamore Centurions and the controversy that erupted after the football team was trounced while playing IMG Academy on ESPN. The world of football prep programs is lucrative.

And one man saw the opportunity to game the system. 

By building a team of football players, he can live out his dreams through the students he recruits. He can also travel around the country, scam people, and scheme to do it all again.

This documentary illuminates the problem with such programs. It also helps us to see where businesses can go wrong. 

Let’s dive into the Reel Leadership lessons found in BS High.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From BS High

1. Roy Johnson:

What could I have done better?

BS High focuses on Roy Johnson, the “coach” for the Bishop Sycamore Centurions. 

Throughout the documentary, you come to know him as a schemer. He’s always looking for an angle to play.

Ask yourself what you could have done better – Leadership lessons from BS High


I don’t want anyone to follow his example, but the question he asks at the beginning of the documentary while talking to Travon Free is one all leaders should ask.

We need to wonder what we could have done better, think about our mistakes, and avoid making them again.

Ask what could I have done better more often.

2. Andrew King:

Roy could absolutely be the next in a long line of people to fall on their own sword on a national scale because he talks too much on a documentary.

Andrew King made a couple of brief appearances in BS High. This quote from King was powerful.

There have been many documentaries made. Some of those documentaries exposed a person because they talked too much.

I believe Johnson makes this mistake in the documentary. He talked way too much, was far too cocky, and showed no remorse.


King was more than correct in his statement. When people talk too much, they can fall on their own sword. They commit verbal suicide. 

Leaders who talk too much can commit verbal suicide – Leadership lessons from BS High


Be cautious of how much you talk and share. Your words can come back to haunt you.

3. Seek to understand what doesn’t feel right:

Imagine hearing there’s a new Division 1 football school. There’d been no mention of them previously. Suddenly, they’re out there trying to make a name for themselves.

When Ben Ferree heard of this new school and its large number of students, he had a gut check. Something about it didn’t feel right.

He began to investigate the school. What he found out was shocking. He discovered the school wasn’t real.

There will be times when you have a gut check about something in your organization. Something just doesn’t feel right.

Sink your teeth into it. Seek to understand why and if something isn’t right.

Your gut can guide you in the right direction.

4. Beware of those who talk a good talk:

Johnson met Mike Moline and Anthony Marling, two filmographers, at a Panera Bread. He began sharing his vision for the school with them.

What was discussed? The prospect of being their official filmography team. Huge payouts. And more.

What happened in reality? Johnson paid the duo $60 for their work over 6 or 7 months. 

Why did they partner with Johnson? Because he talked a good talk. They fell for his sweet talk.

There are people who know how to talk. They’ll butter you up with creative ideas, hot takes, and big promises.


Those who talk a good talk often fail to deliver.

5. Roy Johnson:

This is the point I go back and forth on all the time. Whether it’s ego or it’s heart.

Free asked Johnson why he didn’t shut down the football program when the supporting church (African Methodist Episcopal Church) backed out. The church even sent out a statement saying it was not involved with the Christians of Faith (COF) Academy (the original name of Bishop Sycamore).

Free answered with what appeared to be sincerity. However, after watching the whole documentary, you get a feel you can’t trust a word the man says. Still… his answer accounts for why many leaders fall hard.

Leaders can fail to understand the difference between ego and heart. They think they’re doing what they’re doing because they want to do good. Yet, when it all comes out, they do it because of the ego.

Check your heart. Check your ego. Make sure you’re leading with your heart and not your ego.

6. Leaders can see themselves differently from the people they lead:

Free asked Johnson about his coaching style. Johnson asked if Free had talked to his team members. Free had not yet done so.

When Johnson answered, he saw himself as a savior-type coach. When Free talked to the team members, he got a vastly different answer.

They were hesitant to answer. They said Johnson wasn’t a coach. They had lost their respect for Johnson.

The opinions your team holds of you may vary greatly from how you see yourself – Leadership lessons from BS High


Leaders can get lost in the illusion of their greatness. They can see themselves as a savior or great or honest. When their team members are asked, their opinion varies drastically.

Do your best to understand how your team members view you. If it varies from how you see yourself, you have a problem.

Work on correcting it.

7. Your team will follow the leader:

The kids Johnson was coaching weren’t being fed. Roy would “do his best” to feed the kids with what he had. Johnson shared how he would hustle Walmart by ordering a large number of rotisserie chickens. He wouldn’t go in to pick them up at the scheduled time. Johnson would go at the end of the night when the extra chickens were marked down.

Team members will follow the leader – Leadership lessons from BS High


The students saw Johnson’s hustles and followed his lead. They began scamming and stealing from stores, doing what they saw the leader do.

Your people will follow the leader (that’s you!). Make sure you’re setting an example of what they should be doing. If not, you’re leading them down a dangerous path.

8. Great leaders see when their people shouldn’t perform:

When Bishop Sycamore played IMG Academy, Adrian “Pahokee” Brown felt his knee pop. He tells Coach Johnson that he thinks he hurt himself.

None of the coaches seemed concerned. They told him to go back out there and play the game. 

They should have seen Brown was hurting and taken him out of the game before he hurt himself worse.

By the end of the game, Brown had a torn ACL that is still healing years later.

Great leaders don’t abuse their people. They understand people get hurt, have off days, and need to recover. They don’t push their team members to extremes. 

Make sure you’re caring for your people.

9. Your issues can affect those you lead:

One of the football players from Bishop Sycamore, Trillian Harris, had received a recruitment phone call from Grambling. He was so excited. He had made it. He committed to the school.

Except he hadn’t.

Grambling looked into Harris’s past. They saw that he had gone to Bishop Sycamore… But the school didn’t exist.

His offer was revoked. 

Because of Johnson’s lies, deceit, and hustles, a great young man lost his opportunity to attend a fantastic school.

Understand that your actions can impact those you lead. A potential employer may hear that they were a part of your failed organization. They may pull back a job offer or let them go when they hear this. 

You have a responsibility to the people you lead. Make sure you’re not leading them to places they can’t recover.