Washington Post article on Myron Rolle - Rhodes hopeful
Rolle's accomplishments would be praiseworthy no matter where he played, but it's somewhat astonishing that Rolle did this at Florida State, which placed itself on probation because of an academic scandal in the athletic department. The university's president, T.K. Wetherell, told the New York Times on Monday: "He's almost carrying a university and a football team right now, from a public relations standpoint, on his back. That's a pretty heavy burden to lay on somebody."
Rolle responded by saying: "I have no problem holding the weight of that on my shoulders. I think it's more of a privilege and an honor than a burden."
At a time when USA Today is scrutinizing the majors some big-time athletes choose and why, Rolle has taken a biochemistry class and did so well he was awarded a research grant. It was startling but also refreshing to hear Rolle, during a recent interview, say there was no question that his research, interviewing for the Rhodes Scholar program and one day becoming a doctor are greater priorities than football, which of course rubbed some FSU fans the wrong way. Fortunately, he's had plenty of academic boosterism from professors and academicians.
I believe Rolle's undergrad degree is in Exercise Science, a very demanding major at FSU. In fact, without dual enrollment or AP classes giving you advanced standing as a freshman, you cannot meet all the requirements in four years without taking more than 15 credits a semester and/or attending two summers. The major includes Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics. It is a major that those in the science or health science "industry" know is one that --at FSU-- many declare and few actually complete. Despite this, it remains a major that those who are uninformed continue to think is a "fluff" major for athletes. Sad, but true. This student maintained a 3.75 in a demanding major, with classes that had required labs, and lots of out of classroom demands, and still was able to excel on the football field in an environment that has been rife with academic scandal, surrounded by athletes whose academic goals were not exactly a priority.
I hope that he is awarded the Rhodes. I also am secretly hoping he not only wins, but they do the announcements in a timely manner and allow him to leave gracefully and quickly so that he can get on the plane and get to Maryland in time to help his team. I was surprised that the committee did not alter their schedule just a bit. Given that we all want our athletes to be scholar athletes, why do gifted scholarly athletes have to choose time and time again between their scholarly pursuits and their athletic pursuits. No wonder there is a problem. The Rhodes committee could have gone a long way is closing the gap by not making Myron choose between the two. The publicity behind him having to choose has made me wonder why they insisted on putting him in that spot. Sure, making the choice is part of the process, but I don't get how they have to be mutually exlusive. With that attitude, the gap remains.
Impressive, but when it comes to major scholarship winners, FSU still has a way to go to catch up with Kansas State University, my daughter's school: scholars I only wish that K-State had FSU's football team. Ever since Bill Snyder left K-State's program, it has been a disaster. :-(