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September 8, 2014 - Knight Commission Welcomes New Member, Rhodes Scholar and Former All-American Football Player Myron Rolle

Commission continues its reform efforts at September 8 meeting

Washington, D.C. — Myron Rolle, a Rhodes Scholar and former football All-American at Florida State, joins the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics as its newest member at its meeting today in Washington, D.C. Rolle is now a second-year medical student at the Florida State University College of Medicine.

“Myron brings the experience and point of view that is crucial to the Knight Commission’s vital work as we address some of the most challenging issues facing college sports today,” said Dr. R. Gerald Turner, co-chairman of the Commission and president at Southern Methodist University.

Rolle graduated magna cum laude from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science in 2008. A three-year starter at safety, Rolle earned AP All-American, All-ACC and CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. Upon graduation, Rolle received the prestigious Cecil J. Rhodes Scholarship and earned the MSc in Medical Anthropology from Oxford University in 2009. Upon his return from Oxford in 2010, he was drafted in the sixth round by the Tennessee Titans. Rolle is only the third person to have received a Rhodes Scholarship and a contract with a National Football League team. In 2009, Rolle founded the Myron L. Rolle Foundation, which is dedicated to the support of health, wellness, educational and other charitable initiatives that benefit children and families in need. Rolle also serves on the Board of Trustees at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.

This is the Commission’s second meeting this year. At its March 17 meeting in Miami, the Commission and panelists, including Georgetown University Board of Directors Chair Paul Tagliabue and Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, called for a stronger focus on the educational mission in college sports.

William E. "Brit" Kirwan, co-chairman of the Commission and chancellor of the University System of Maryland, said, "The Commission applauds initiatives recently announced by a number of universities that will strengthen the educational focus by providing four-year athletic scholarships and guaranteeing financial assistance for former scholarship athletes to complete degree requirements. Both actions are consistent with prior Knight Commission recommendations. We look forward to our discussions today about additional ways to expand educational benefits and improve experiences for college athletes."

Other Knight Commission recommendations that have not been addressed that will be discussed in its deliberations include: 

  • Reducing the athletics time demands on athletes;
  • Revising revenue distribution for the College Football Playoff and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship to reduce the emphasis on winning and increase the emphasis on educational values;
  • Requiring Division I institutions to make NCAA financial reports public to provide needed transparency for how the money in college sports is used to strengthen the educational mission.

The Commission will release a statement at the conclusion of its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Additional updates and details from the Commission’s public meeting to follow. Live updates are available via Twitter (@KnightAthletics), and additional photographs and highlights from the meeting will be posted on www.knightcommission.org following the event.

About the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics
The Knight Commission was formed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 1989 in response to highly visible scandals in college sports. The Commission’s goal is to promote a reform agenda that emphasizes academic values in a climate in which commercialization of college sports often overshadows the underlying goals of higher education. Over the years, the NCAA has adopted a number of the Commission’s recommendations including the rule that requires teams to be on track to graduate more than 50 percent of their players in order to be eligible for postseason competition. The Commission’s Athletic and Academic Spending Database provides financial data for more than 220 public institutions to provide greater financial transparency on athletics spending. More information about the Commission including its prior reports and recommendations can be found at www.knightcommission.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. www.knightfoundation.org