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College Football’s Positive Role Model

By on January 8th, 2013 in Football 8 Comments »


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.”


  1. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    Concratulations Mr. Richardson. Nobody deserves this honor more than you.

  2. Im4Auburn says:

    It is good to read about success stories like Ashton Richardson.
    Your right, there are thousands of students just like him that are doing things the right way but we never hear about them. Thanks for posting this. We’ are proud of the way he has represented student athletes every where and especially at Auburn University.

  3. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Ashton is truly an AUBURN TIGER and It’s great to be an AUBURN TIGER ! CONGRATULATIONS to Ashton and his family !

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  4. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Congratulations Mr.Richardson.

    Truth be told, I always search for a VET from Auburn. I simply trust them to take care of my family pets. True statement. Oh, I will use someone else in a pinch… but when I do get a chance to do the research… an AU Graduate from the school of veterinary is the one that gets my business.

    Amazing stats ATM:

    1) 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.

    Wow. I suspected this… but now that I see the figures… I am still shocked. Just wow. It’s amazing to me how many young men are betting the farm on their ability and then how many don’t make it. Life lesson: get a usable degree!

    2) Media studies reveal that generally negative news outweighs positive stories by as much as 17 -1.

    Again, Wow! I suspected this too. This was really reinforced when the Cam Newton scandal broke out near the end of the 2010 season. I guess it is still prevalent today.


  5. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    Very proud for Ashton!! How do the players that are so bad not see what these student-athletes are all about? Seems like the great kids would be good role models for the thugs but I guess they are too busy studying….. 😉

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