Student comes before athlete in student athlete

Written by Barrett Henderson, The Observer November 24, 2008 02:53 pm
It’s common sense that when a college coach has a tough decision between two players, he goes with the one with the better grades. So, to those high school athletes reading this who have college aspirations, please take this seriously.

Some of you may have already heard the story of Florida State’s Myron Rolle, but some have not.

It’s an impressive enough story to tell twice and might be new to some folks.

Rolle is currently a junior at Florida State University. Like many college football players, he has aspirations of making millions of dollars in his career. He just plans on doing it a little different than others.

As much as he loves the game, Rolle does not wish to be an NFL safety. He is one of the nation’s best secondary defenders and could easily play football on Sundays.

Instead of playing in front of thousands of fans, Rolle wants the ability to cure one.

The junior safety had one of the biggest victories in his life Saturday. It was not when FSU upset No. 25 Maryland on the road, but when he won a Rhodes scholarship.

The honor is awarded to only 32 students in the United States every year. Rolle will now have the opportunity to study at the prestigious Oxford University in England.

Saturday he had to choose between an interview for the scholarship in Birmingham, Ala., or the game in College Park, Md.

For Rolle, the future neurosurgeon, the choice was a no-brainer.

Admirably, his coach Bobby Bowden felt the same. He had no problem allowing one of his best defenders to miss the game.

“I know academics come first,” Bowden said. “I really don’t know of anything higher than to have a player who is a recipient of a Rhodes scholarship.”

Rolle won the scholarship a little less than three hours before kickoff, and then boarded a private plane to meet up with his team.

He was welcomed with a standing ovation from the opposing fans. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to realize this was bigger than sports.

The New Jersey native is currently working on a master’s degree in public administration after graduating earlier this year with a degree in exercise science and a 3.75 GPA.

Rolle’s long-term goal is to earn a medical degree after spending time on stem cell research at Florida State.

Even though I am from Florida, I was never a big fan of any of the schools there. But, this is a story everyone should be a fan of.

Rolle provided FSU with a timely bright spot for its athletic program. The Seminoles are waiting to hear from the NCAA about penalties for an academic cheating scandal.

People often judge athletes as not being the brightest people, and athletes can sometimes forget why they are at school in the first place.

Obviously the cheating scandal does not help the jock stereotype.

It’s about time the sports world had a great Rolle model.


Barrett Henderson is a sports writer for The Observer. Reach him by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it