At times, it may appear like collegiate athletes and celebrities enjoy similar levels of fame. The young people whose athletic prowess has earned them a seat on the squad are campus stars at colleges like the University of Florida or Ohio State where sports reign supreme and tailgates are the hottest events of the semester. Of course, there are difficulties with this configuration.
A persistent bone of contention is the underpayment of teenage athletes who generate vast sums of money for their individual schools: Of the 2,078 colleges having athletic programs, 65 generated $7.6 billion in income from college athletics in 2018.
According to a March 2019 investigation by Connecticut senator and Democrat Chris Murphy titled “Madness, Inc.” Likewise, unwelcome student paparazzi frequently accompany college quarterbacks. Some collegiate athletes may feel as though they are treading a red carpet when crossing the quad to attend a biology class.
There are other occasions when the fame aspect is unconnected to touchdowns, goals, or startling upset triumphs, and it doesn’t become apparent until much later in life. There are a lot of notable people who had athletic inclinations before they followed their aims; actor Patrick Dempsey was once a well-known juggler, for example.
Garth Brooks loved sports, especially baseball, and fantasized that one day his physical prowess would enable him to support himself. Even though Brooks ultimately found success and recognition in the country music industry, he was able to attend Oklahoma State University on an athletic scholarship, fulfilling a childhood aspiration.
What sport did he play to get there? Javelin-throwing. While Brooks spent 1981 to 1984 honing his javelin throw and participating in the track and field community, he was unable to compete in the significant Big Eight Conference championships and quickly recognized that athletics would never be his true calling.
Few people are aware of Mahershala Ali’s past as an NCAA Division I basketball player at St. Mary’s College of California, while most know him as an Oscar-winning actor and some may even recognize him as a former rapper.
Ali played guard for four seasons while on a basketball scholarship, scoring seven points per game in his last season. After graduating in 1996, Ali’s engagement in the sport came to an end. He then opted to enroll in a graduate acting school at New York University after falling in love with theater during an apprenticeship.
The acting abilities of Joel McHale, who is well-known for his work on “Community” and “The Soup,” were in demand even before he considered acting as a possible career option. McHale was able to convince the University of Washington to accept him as a freshman walk-on in 1992 by fabricating a tale about his (very brief) high school football career.
6-foot-4 McHale’s college buddies recall that while the tight end “wasn’t outstanding,” he had a lot of fire, and desire, and understood how to take a hit. Even then, though, it was obvious that humor was a good match, and when McHale delivered a funny skit about the team doctor, the other players finally took him seriously.
Jon Stewart has put a lot of effort into getting where he is now, which includes earning a spot on the College of William and Mary soccer squad. Stewart thought his high school experience would get him a spot on the varsity squad when he first got to college in 1980, but the coach told him junior varsity could be a better match.
Stewart persisted though, and by the following autumn, he had succeeded in getting a spot on the varsity squad, where he performed admirably for the following three years. The “Leibo” award, which was named after Stewart’s original last name, Leibowitz, is now given to the William and Mary soccer player whose positive attitude has the greatest positive impact on the team. Stewart was not the team’s star player, but the winger did score at least one game-winning goal in a 1983 match.
Actress Uzo Aduba, star of “Orange Is the New Black,” was a standout track athlete and opera singer when a student at Boston College. She has since discovered ways to maintain these two hobbies. She completed the 2015 Boston Marathon in a little over five hours and continues to sing (even joining Taylor Swift on stage).
Aduba, who received a track scholarship to attend Boston College, has claimed that her perseverance in acting is largely due to the dedication and drive needed to succeed as a collegiate athlete. Aduba had originally intended to be cast as Crazy Eyes, a character from “Orange Is the New Black” whose backstory revolves around her time as a track and field star.
Dwayne ‘The Rock Johnson
The unexpected move made by Dwayne “The Rock” The majority of people is familiar with Johnson’s professional path—WWE celebrity to legitimate movie star. Johnson’s time as a cherished, record-breaking wrestling champion, however, is preceded by a chapter.
Johnson’s high school football prowess led to several Division I scholarship offers; he ultimately decided to accept an athletic scholarship to the University of Miami, from which he graduated in 1995. The 6-foot-5 Johnson, a gregarious defensive lineman known by the moniker “Dewey,” appeared in 39 games, made a total of 77 tackles, and was praised by teammates and coaches for his strength and incredibly amazing physique.
Channing Tatum’s physical prowess is no secret—his outstanding dancing in the movie “Step Up” launched him to fame. Tatum, who is naturally athletic, received a football scholarship to Glenville State College in West Virginia, where he played for a while before quitting to start the exotic dance project that would serve as the inspiration for the film “Magic Mike.” According to Tatum, he stopped loving the game in college and just continued playing long enough to keep his scholarship.
In the middle of the 1990s, rapper 2 Chainz was still Tauheed Epps, a 6-foot-5 young man who received a Division I basketball scholarship to Alabama State. Epps participated in 24 of the 29 games during the 1996–97 season and had a standout effort against Alcorn State, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds in only 10 minutes.
During his music career, Epps has remained active in the basketball community. He released a song titled “NCAA” in which he criticizes the unfairness of a system that demands so much of collegiate athletes while providing them with little compensation.
Ronald Reagan, an actor, and former college cheerleader served as the 40th president of the United States of America. That’s correct, Ronald Reagan spent many nights during his time at Eureka College, where he studied sociology and economics, and graduated in 1932, dressed up with a school sweater and a megaphone in hand, supporting the Red Devils from the side of the basketball court. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Bushes were among the future presidents who cheered in college, much like Reagan.
There aren’t many famous people who are involved in both duck hunting and reality TV, but Phil Robertson, the conservative patriarch of the popular series “Duck Dynasty,” is one of them. Robertson played football well enough to start at quarterback for Louisiana Tech in 1966 and 1967 before he set cable TV records. Robertson’s tenure as the team’s quarterback wasn’t very successful, but he was renowned for an accurate arm, and at the end of his two seasons on the field, he had accrued 2,237 yards and touchdowns.