From Butch to Samari to Antrel, there have been a notable number of people with the last name Rolle in the NFL; that a fourth Rolle was on the way in Florida State safety Myron (above) has been known ever since his debut with the Seminoles back in 2006. But what sets Myron apart from the average Rolle — or Ayanbadejo or, um, Gramatica or owner of any other multi-player NFL last name — is what an uncommonly brilliant student this particular student-athlete is.
Sports Illustrated‘s Stewart Mandel profiled Rolle — who is the Jersey-born son of Bahamian immigrants and shares only a last name and diffuse relationship through the island’s quasi-dynastic Rolle family with the other NFL Rolles — back in July, and followed up yesterday with an update on the future medical student and Rhodes Scholar finalist’s recent dilemma. I, uh, gave it away in the headline.
In the final step of what has already been an extensive application process, Rolle must appear in Birmingham, Ala., to interview before the Rhodes selection committee. Both the interview and subsequent announcement of the winners will take place on Nov. 22 — the day of the Maryland game.
I first stumbled upon this potential conflict in the course of reporting my story on Rolle in July. It seemed to me a potentially crippling roadblock. After all, what major college football program would allow one of its best players to voluntarily skip a game?
Rolle, who had not yet been made aware of the conflict, said at the time: “I definitely couldn’t miss that game. I wouldn’t do that to my teammates.”
On Wednesday, however, Rolle told me: “I’m definitely going to Birmingham. The more I do mock interviews here at school and think about what I want to say [to the committee], I have grown to really want to be a Rhodes Scholar,” said Rolle. “If it takes missing a game, that’s what it takes.”
Most refreshing of all: His coaches agree. “We couldn’t be more proud of this happening for one of our players,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden said Wednesday. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance and you wouldn’t dare deny him that. I just hope he wins it.”
Depending on when the FSU/Maryland game starts, the Seminoles will petition the NCAA to fly Rolle in, with an ETA around halftime. That such a flight would probably be happening “on a booster’s private plane” is the kind of wince-inducing moment that makes me violently ambivalent about college football. That it’s happening at all, though, is kind of amazing.