Similar to Summer Sanders' postsharing how she watched the Stanford Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech this past Monday, I was glued to the television, rooting on my Cardinal. Besides the excitement of the game, and Stanford football's highest finish in the history of the program, most of the focus was on whether Stanford's head coach, Jim Harbaugh, and its star quarterback, Andrew Luck, would be returning to The Farm (nicknamed for what Stanford really looked like back in its beginnings) next season.
Harbaugh has decided to leave Stanford for the San Francisco 49ers, but the decision has been made by Luck to stay at Stanford at least one more year. Understanding this Heisman-finalist would be a top pick for the NFL draft, he is turning down even more fame and what I am sure would be a ridiculous amount of money, for what? His reason: He wants to finish his degree in architectural design. What? But you don't need a degree in architectural design if you can play the game of football the way you do. In fact, how often do you find a redshirt sophomore who has the NFL knocking on his door, even think about staying in school?
I was a sideline reporter for ESPNU college football this fall, and it was so REFRESHING to hear this response from Andrew Luck, especially when 2010 was a season for top-notch quarterbacks to be more associated with money and possible suspensions, rather than wanting to get their degree (Terrelle... cough... Pryor, Cam... cough, cough... Newton). It was refreshing to hear that college football is about COLLEGE (well, sometimes) and not always about FOOTBALL. Because Luck's decision is rare, he has been called "old school", and, as his father Oliver told ESPN.com, "he comes from a faction of people who believe you go to college to pursue your degree." I call him The Reminder that college athletes can still be humble enough to see the big picture, look outside themselves and enjoy some of the best times of their lives by getting an amazing education and playing a sport called football with some of their best friends.