In his column this morning, SI.com's Stewart Mandel tells the story of Florida State safety Myron Rolle.
A pre-med student with a 3.75 GPA, Rolle was recently named a finalist for a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. The 22-year-old must appear before the Rhodes selection committee on Nov. 22 in Birmingham, Ala., on the same day of Florida State's game with Maryland -- a showdown which could determine the ACC's Atlantic Division champion.
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."
Rolle is his team's best defensive player and a projected first-round draft pick. We're not talking about a walk-on player: He's attending Florida State on a football scholarship.
If Rolle played for your team, would you be OK with his absence for a critical conference game? What if Rolle were missing the BCS championship game instead? Would your opinion change depending on the magnitude of the game
And there's also another natural question: What if Rolle gets the scholarship? Would you turn down first-round money to go study at Oxford for a year?