If Being A Rhodes Scholar Is Cool, Then Everyone Wants To Be Bill BradleyS

Myron Rolle postponed entering the NFL Draft to debate philosophy in Oxford pubs, and suddenly, two other high-profile college athletes — namely, Alabama's Greg McElroy and UConn's Maya Moore — are considering applying for Rhodes Scholarships next year. Trend alert!

Actually, not so much. The Rhodes Scholarship has long been a magnet for cerebral student-athletes — five NCAA athletes were honored this year, compared to nine last year — but typically, the Rhodes Trust infuses their faith in people you've never heard of. Like swimmers and fencers and cross-country runners and anyone from Division III. Rolle was the exception, the trailblazer for Maya Moore, on track to be one of the best women's college basketball players ever, and Greg McElroy, just 60 minutes of football away from winning a national championship. Do you see what's happening here? Being smart is now... cool!

"Cool is my own definition of cool," Rolle says. "That's what's important. Cool to me is getting straight A's. Cool to me is scoring three touchdowns. Cool to me is shaking the hand of our mayor," he said. "Cool to me is helping out at the nursing home. Cool to me is playing in the jazz band, and playing the lead role in 'Fiddler on the Roof.' I like to define my own path and my own journey.

I'm told that Moore would prefer the role of Yente in the next Oxford staging of "Fiddler" if she actually applies and wins, as a reward, the prize of living in England. McElroy appears more certain of going through with the process, which will give Musburger and Herbie about 30 seconds of fodder in the Rose Bowl booth come January. Still, both candidates are far from shoos-in, and they can probably afford to beef up their resumes with some non-athletic extracurriculars. Like, teaching poetry at a maximum security prison or starting a foundation to combat AIDS in the third world, both of which were actually items on the CVs of winning applicants this year.

Or they can just go out and win national titles. That'd be pretty cool, too.

UConn Star Has An Eye on Oxford [The New York Times]
McElroy to apply for Rhodes Scholarship [ESPN]
EARLIER: Let's All Question Myron Rolle's Priorities