Saturday, January 23, 2016

You gotta be a football hero?

But that's what the biography says:
Despite his “class clown” reputation and low grades, Rubio played football throughout grade school and received a football scholarship to Tarkio College in Missouri. He attended for one year before transferring to Santa Fe Community College and then graduating in 1993 with a bachelor of science from the University of Florida. (Daily [Dog-]Signal)
Why doesn't Boehlert think Rubio got a football scholarship to Tarkio? Because that's not exactly the way Tarkio was working in Rubio's freshman year 1989-90, the year before the college closed down for good, for reasons Anthony dePalma explained in the New York Times at the time:
Auditors found that the college was so desperate to increase enrollment and stay alive that it had dealt out loans and grants to ineligible students until it owed the Federal Government more than $22 million.

In a scheme more often connected with beauty academies than accredited institutions of higher education, Tarkio set up illegitimate off-campus programs and signed up thousands of unprepared students, many of them whisked right off city streets. Most of these students dropped out and never repaid their loans, leaving Tarkio at one point with the highest loan default rate in the nation.

"Basically what you had was a small college acting as a front," said Kent Kraus, Dean of Institutional Advancement at Tarkio.
Rubio, with his 2.1, was pretty evidently one of those kids, a victim of the college's efforts to save itself with funds bilked out of the federal government, and he couldn't make it; no doubt he may have been on the JV team as a freshman in the fall of 1989, but Mark Leibovich's Times feature on Rubio and football from 2012 doesn't mention a scholarship and suggests a coach bringing him down gently on his hopes of a career:
Rubio’s N.F.L. dreams died at Tarkio College in northwest Missouri, where he played wide receiver and defensive back for one season. A coach showed him a laminated grid indicating how fast a player of his height (5 feet 9 inches) had to be to play in the league.

“For my height you had to run a 4.3,” Rubio says, referring to the 40-yard dash. “The fastest I ever ran was a 4.65.”
Nor did he mention the scholarship in a 2010 candidate profile in the Palm Beach Post, for instance:
After graduating from South Miami High School, he attended tiny, now-defunct Tarkio College in Missouri for a year and played football
(though in that interview he certainly did mention the now abandoned tale of his parents fleeing the Communist takeover in Cuba though they actually came to Florida three years before the success of the Revolution and visited Cuba frequently in the years after, showing no particular dislike for the Castro regime). And he allows you to think he had an athletic scholarship in his 2013 memoir An American Son, but doesn't actually say so:

("I thought my skills were better suited for the offense"—remind you of how he's taken to thinking only losers are in the Senate and his skills are better suited to the executive? The offer from Wagner definitely wasn't an athletic scholarship, his grade point disqualified him for sure.)

He went back to Florida and buckled down at the community college in Gainesville until he was ready for a four-year school (Rep. Connie Mack IV, who's four years older than Rubio, took an Associate's degree at Santa Fe and then went to the U. of Florida too). Which is nothing to be ashamed of (my own undergraduate career took as many schools and twice as much time as Sarah Palin's, so it ill behooves me to mock him on this, though I'll bet I also did a lot more low-wage labor than either of those gents).

But it's pretty clear that he got that scholarship no earlier than 2012-14, around the same time as he grew an inch or more to 5' 10", and got it out of the same place, his imagination, when he started running for president. Which looks like another part of what is getting to be a disturbing pattern.

With the South Miami High Cobras, fall 1988? Via Bruce Zake. But no pictures to be found of him with the Tarkio Owls. Tarkio students with talent made it elsewhere after the college closed down: here's a news story about five of them, at least one of whom (Marco Aires) was a freshman in Rubio's year, at a couple of Iowa colleges.

No comments:

Post a Comment