College Football’s Positive Role Model
One of the best things about college football is that despite all the commercialism and big time TV money, it is still the last bastion of amateur football, albeit one that is played on a big stage.
Despite the perception that the college game serves as sort of a minor league training ground for the NFL, the numbers simply do no support that premise.
There are approximately 38,000 Division I and II football players in America. Last year there were 254 that were taken in the NFL Draft or about seven percent of the eligible seniors for 2011.
Yet there has been so much written about the money flowing into the sport and about scandals associated with it at different schools, that it is easy for many to forget that it’s core is the student athlete.
For the last several years, it seems fans can’t read about the sport, watch or listen to sports talk shows without being lambasted with all the negatives in college football.
Whether it’s players being arrested or programs being sanctioned by the NCAA … to many, it seems the idea of the true student-athlete is a thing of the past.
At least part of that is the media’s fascination with the negative. Media studies reveal that generally negative news outweighs positive stories by as much as 17 -1.
With all the negative sports stories that get published, there are thousands of stories that go unnoticed. Yes, thousands of student athletes every year, that are doing things the right way – practicing, playing, studying, and developing into outstanding citizens.
There are just so many great stories that do not get told. That’s why it was a pleasure this week to read about Auburn’ senior linebacker, Ashton Richardson.
Ashton is a true student athlete. The four-year letterman graduated in December with a 3.95 GPA in animal science and plans to attend veterinary school.
He is a Rhodes Scholar finalist, a three-time member of the All-SEC academic honor roll, and a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s William Campbell Trophy.
Ashton was honored Friday with the 2012 Bobby Bowden Award, presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It’s given to the NCAA Division I player that best epitomizes the student-athlete who serves as a faith model on campus, in the classroom, in the community and on the football field.
Former recipients include D. J. Shockley, UGA; Colt McCoy, Texas; Christian Ponder, FSU; and last year’s winner Case Keenum, Houston
In addition to being a football player and an honor roll student, Richardson has made time to volunteer each week for the past four years as a mentor at the Lee County Youth Development Center.
Ashton Richardson is what is fine and good about college football. He is a true student-athlete, a true Auburn Man, and in every sense of the word a true …
“Positive roll model.”