MOBILE Ala. — The Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England is one of the most exclusive and prestigious academic honors one can attain. It is bestowed only on the best and brightest in higher education, and past recipients of the award include famed American astronomer Edwin Hubble, recently retired Supreme Court justice David Souter and former president Bill Clinton.
A few prominent football players have been Rhodes Scholars in the past, including former USC star quarterback Pat Haden and 1958 Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins. Another in this line is here at the Under Armour Senior Bowl.
Florida State’s Myron Rolle bypassed an opportunity to enter the draft last season because he wanted to participate in the program. Now, a year later, Rolle is still pursuing a pro football career, only with much more academic experience to fall back on.
One seminar in particular caught his interest.
“Sandra Day O’Connor came and spoke to our group, and I was floored,” said Rolle.
“I mean I had a chance to listen to the first woman Supreme Court justice of America, and it was great.”
Rolle also pointed out that he was exposed to certain debates that he never would have dealt with as a football player, citing the class “Illness narratives and how they are pertinent to different societies” as a primary example.
“As a medical anthropologist it’s important to understand the customs, traditions and cultures and how that intersects with medicine,” noted Rolle.
“It was a lively debate with some great discussions, and I think I became smarter because of it.”
Rolle did practice rugby while in England to stay in shape and preserve some of his football skills, and said he expects his decision to wait a year and become a Rhodes Scholar will have a great effect on kids.
“Young boys, girls around the country, maybe even around the globe, can see how this young man passed away NFL money, riches and fame for education, and pursued it with vigor,” said Rolle.
“You’re able to do both. You’re able to have parallel roads and have fun at it.”
– Jason Feller