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Myron Rolle's Academic-Athletic Balance

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We live in close proximity to a Bowl Championship Series football program (Ole Miss). Even though we love it, we have to admit that athletic priorities sometimes get out of whack and leave you shaking your head.

Alas, the world isn't crazy all the time. I grinned ear-to-ear yesterday afternoon when I read Stewart Mandel's CNNSI.com column. Myron Rolle, (The Hun School graduate, 2006) Florida State's great safety and scholar, missed Saturday's game against Maryland because he had to be in Birmingham, AL to interview with the Rhodes scholarship selection committee. We wrote about Rolle's academic achievements and looming tough choices a few months back.

The academic football conflict is rare. But the beauty lies in Rolle's commitment to his studies and his coach's support and belief that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes first. Even for coach Bobby Bowden, athletics don't always come first.

Coach Bowden told SI: "We couldn't be more proud of this happening for one of our players. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance and you wouldn't dare deny him that. I just hope he wins it."

Photo Credit: Lance McCord
Myron Rolle displays a rare combination of drive, insight, work ethic, achievement and innate ability. Out of The Hun School of Princeton, Rolle chose to attend Florida State University on a full football scholarship. Academics weighed heavily on his decision to go to Florida State. The school offered him the opportunity for an accelerated program in a pre-med track.

I've never heard of another potential scholarship athlete who met with the university president on his admission visit.

He's now on track to finish early (in 2 1/2 years), apply for a Rhodes Scholarship and prepare for medical school. Or, graduate and enter the National Football League draft where he is projected as a first round pick.

Defer the dream of becoming an MD to play professional football?

As he tells SI.com's Stewart Mandel, "I sort of fell in love with that profession (MD) and had my mind set that I wanted to do (pre-med) while still playing football," said Rolle. "Everything I did in high school built up to where I'm at now."

These decisions will come during and after the fall as he works hard to return FSU football to national prominence.

Rolle's inside view of Florida State football for the New York Times provides a peek into the life of a division I football player and the ways of a major college program.
The Philadelphia Phillies chose Anthony Hewitt with their first pick in the recent baseball amateur draft.

Selecting a player directly out of high school is part and parcel of the baseball draft. What's noteworthy here is that he was chosen out of a boarding school. In Hewitt's case, he's grown-up in junior and upper boarding schools- 8th and 9th grade at Cardigan Mountain School and 10-12th grades at Salisbury School.

He's follows in a long line of boarding school players destined for the major leagues- Mo Vaughn (Trinity-Pawling), Kirk McCaskill (Trinity-Pawling), Sean DePaula (Cushing) and Darren Bragg (Taft) come off the top of my head. All of this group followed the boarding school-college- professional baseball route. Juan Nieves (Avon) took the Avon-minor league route (no college) to the Majors.

Still, most (from my unscientific observation) found their way to the show through their college teams. Hewitt may forego school and try to work up through the minors.

I'd never advocate skipping a bonus pay day if the money is on the table. A bird in hand beats the possibility of two in the bush. But, Hewitt might do well to look to Vanderbilt's Pedro Alvarez who developed at Vandy in the SEC and became the first round pick of the Pirates. Alvarez went from a 14th round pick out of high school to a first rounder out of Vandy.

Of note- Alvarez also attended private school at Horace Mann in New York.

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