The sports result that I was most interested in this weekend had nothing to do with action on the field. Yes, I was concerned with whether the Cats could beat Deleware State and I had mild interest in the games with BCS implications. But my soul was with Myron Rolle. This weekend Rolle was part of a Florida State football team that got a huge win on the road against the Maryland Terrapins. But his weekend was much more impressive than that. He was also awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, one of 32 given in the country, an award that is the Rolls Royce of academic achievements. In so doing, Rolle became the highest profile athlete to win the award since a young man named Bill Bradley did so almost 50 years ago and showcased all that can be good about sports.
Think about this for a second. Rolle plays football….at FLORIDA STATE….an athletics department that has had more academic fraud in the past year than any major university in America. Yet Rolle came to college, graduate in 2 1/2 years with a 3.75 GPA, taking classes in organic chemistry and putting himself on the path to becoming a neurosurgeon. And oh yeah, he is also likely to be a First Team All American safety and will be a first day draft choice in next year’s NFL Draft. Rolle may be the best combination of athletics and academics in recent memory as he has taken his status as the former #1 recruit in all of America and combined it with the most elite academic award given in the country. Rolle was able to have his Rhodes Scholarship interview, and thanks to a rule bend by the NCAA, fly on a chartered jet to Maryland to play football that night. He pulled off the nearly unprecedented double on national television as the world inside and outside of sports watched.
It is easy when you watch college sports to get disenchanted or to become sick of all the hypocrisy used in talking about student-athletes. But then comes a guy like Myron Rolle, who is a true model for kids all over America. A guy who has gotten it done in all phases of life and is something we see less and less of in today’s society, a true Renaissance man. I followed Rolle’s story all week and hit refresh on the NY Times site to see the final result. And when news came out that Rolle won the award, I celebrated like I knew him. Florida State safety and a Rhodes Scholar….bet that combination is never repeated.