A 22-year-old assistant coach for a junior varsity girls basketball team in Virginia was fired after she participated in a game pretending to be a 13-year-old player who was out of town for a club tournament.
Arlisha Boykins, who formerly worked as a JV girls basketball coach for the Churchland High School Truckers in Portsmouth, was terminated after the parents of the 13-year-old student-athlete whom Boykins reportedly impersonated complained to school officials.
WAVY reported Boykins is:
"no longer an employee of Portsmouth Public Schools. Her last day of employment was Jan. 25."
The news outlet also confirmed that the JV head coach, along with the head coach of the varsity girls basketball team, have also been fired.
\u201cSMH! Coach Fired For Impersonating 13-Year-Old Student During JV Basketball Match https://t.co/nxePKakiMd #NewsPolitics #ArlishaBoykins\u201d— Cunning Foxes Showbiz (@Cunning Foxes Showbiz) 1675203273
The child's father was taken aback by the coach's deception.
“Coaches always preach to the kids about integrity and those types of things, so I was just shocked."
A video showed Boykins actively playing in Saturday's game in Suffolk against Nansemond River along with 14 and 15-year-old players.
She can be seen wearing Churchland's black jersey with the number 1 on it.
Churchland High School JV Girls Basketball coach impersonates player youtu.be
Social media users were dumbfounded this was allowed to happen in the first place.
\u201c@DarrenMHaynes I\u2019m clowning that nobody thought this was a bad idea? Nobody team?\u201d— Darren M. Haynes (@Darren M. Haynes) 1675212408
\u201cSHAMEFUL! An assistant coach for the Churchland High School (VA) Girls basketball team was caught impersonating a 13-year-old player that was out of town at a club basketball tournament. https://t.co/D1WVZbFllP\u201d— Double_E33 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Double_E33 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1675256198
\u201cWhere were the Adults at the game? How could they allow the kid to ruin her life?Arlisha Boykins, 22, a former assistant JV basketball coach at Churchland High School in Portsmouth, was canned after the girl's parents complained to school officials. https://t.co/JI5t8bVYnJ\u201d— Virginia-Texas (@Virginia-Texas) 1675261686
\u201cI've seen a lot of weird stuff in my days of playing and coaching basketball, but this one may take the cake. A coach pretending to be one of the players! Bad enough a 22 y/o coach sneaks into a JV game - but she's going all out, too! smh https://t.co/fUkJBZD5cw\u201d— Dan Andros (@Dan Andros) 1675269344
The bizarre situation made the internet do a double-take.
\u201c@kaiceybaylor Listennnnnnn I was like \ud83d\ude33\u201d— Kaicey Baylor (@Kaicey Baylor) 1675248586
\u201c@nytimes Perhaps the coach identifies as a high school girl. It\u2019s wrong of us to assume.\u201d— The New York Times (@The New York Times) 1675221006
\u201c@nytimes She couldn\u2019t make the varsity?\u201d— The New York Times (@The New York Times) 1675221006
\u201c@DarrenMHaynes Imagine becoming a national headline for 15 seconds of \u201cfame?\u201d playing JV basketball\u201d— Darren M. Haynes (@Darren M. Haynes) 1675212408
\u201c@DarrenMHaynes Reliving her glory days I see. \ud83d\ude02\u201d— Darren M. Haynes (@Darren M. Haynes) 1675212408
\u201c@DarrenMHaynes still lost too. that should be punishment enough lmao\u201d— Darren M. Haynes (@Darren M. Haynes) 1675212408
The school division has launched an investigation looking into the matter.
The young athletes on both the JV and varsity teams decided at a team meeting attended by their parents to end the season and not participate in any of the remaining games.
The family of the impersonated child told the news outlet that she is no longer interested in returning to Churchland High and is looking "for other opportunities."
The parents are still waiting to hear a formal apology from the school divison.
News of the false identity incident at a public high school followed a similar case where a 29-year-old woman named Hyejeong Shin falsified documentation to blend in as a high school student.
Shin was arrested after allegedly forging her birth certificate to verify her age and identity–which is a third-degree crime–so she could enroll at New Brunswick High School in New Jersey.
Students at the school suspected Shin may have possibly been involved in a human trafficking scheme.