Robby Anderson: The Prodigal Son Returns


One of the great stories in the Bible is when the Prodigal’s Son returns.
Such was the case on Monday at Temple football practice when wide receiver Robby Anderson returned to the school for the second time.
This time all indications are that it will be to stay.
Temple coach Matt Rhule played the role of the dad and welcomed the wide receiver back with open arms.
“We missed you, big guy,” Rhule said as he gave Anderson a hug.
“I messed up, coach,” Anderson said. “I promise I’m here to stay this time.”
The last time Anderson left, he had been playing cornerback on the defensive side of the ball a year ago. He had to take care of a few personal things and came back in September. His scholarship gone, Rhule told him that he would have to earn his spot back on the team as a walk-on.
Anderson did that and more, catching nine touchdowns in the last five games for the Owls, who were a lot more competitive with him than they were without him. He and freshman quarterback P.J. Walker had a special connection, like Sonny Jurgensen to Tommy McDonald and, more recently, Adam DiMichele to Bruce Francis.
When Anderson flunked out of school in January, there appeared to be little hope that he would return for a second go-round, but a story on a North Carolina athlete staying eligible piqued Anderson’s interest to return and maybe get some better counseling on which courses to take. Some phone calls to Temple followed and the school gave him another chance.
“I figured if that North Carolina guy who wrote that paper on Rosa Parks could stay eligible, I could apply myself, too and do the same,” Anderson said.
Anderson was referring to this paper:

This paper got an A- grade.

This paper got an A- grade.

“We found that Robby’s course load was too ambitious,” Rhule said. “He was taking Nuclear Physics, Aerospace Studies, Russian and Biochemistry. I asked my staff who was the idiot that approved that. They said it was me. My bad.”
In his quest to return to eligibility, Anderson is enrolled in the first summer session taking courses in Art History, Communications Studies, Dance and Film, Sports Business and Media Art. The Sports Business class is being taught by Temple basketball coach Fran Dunphy. If Anderson gets by Summer Sessions I and II, he will be eligible to play football in September.
“Fran owes me a favor, just sayin’,” Rhule said.
When reached for a comment, Dunphy said he was out recruiting and did not know anything about it.
One more thing.
Happy April Fool’s Day everyone.



12 thoughts on “Robby Anderson: The Prodigal Son Returns

  1. The joke is on us, and unfortunately this kid, who threw away opportunities few people have. Not only did he have an opportunity to obtain a free education, he had a chance to go to the pros. The sky was the limit for him with PJ quarterbacking. I hope he’s having fun with his friends because he’d better be given all he’s lost.

  2. I can’t believe with all the courses available at Temple, he couldn’t pick five (or less) to skate through for 3 years before going pro. If guys who played for Bruce were having academic troubles, he had tutors and others find suitable courses. Robby Anderson was going to be an NFL player. He didn’t need to take a single challenging course.

  3. Dropped an old ”Temple to the ACC” article in another blog. As for RA, young people can make bad decisions. The problem with making one regarding athletics is that the window of opportunity closes quickly.

  4. I had “prepared” myself for these kinds of things today and yet I was so excited by the headline I went for it. Thanks a lot!

  5. By the way Mike. Great piece.

  6. Thanks, John. Had a hard time coming up with an April Fool’s Piece Idea this year until Anderson flunked out of school. I wrote that one down in my little black book right away. On a serious note, I have a hard time believing this was Anderson’s fault as much as it was the academic and coaching support. I mean, even when I went to Temple, I had football players in my “Sports in America” class (taught by Norm Kaner) and that was the freakin easiest class I ever took at Temple. When I asked them what else they were taking, they were taking similar courses across a number of disciplines. We’ve got to identify the NFL players and keep them eligible. Winning is a business we need to get better at.

  7. Here is how Temple tries to win: Hire a HC with no previous HC experience (even though Lembo, Cristobal and Bowles were available); have that same HC hire all of his friends with dubious (at BEST) qualifications to be assistants, promote some GA’s to other assistant positions, and then hemorrhage players because they weren’t put in the right classes to skate through. Sounds like a plan to me.

  8. Now that’s an April fool’s joke. Oh no, it’s not a joke.

  9. Unfortunately. Ron Dickerson Redux. Only thing missing is the crying at the end of a 53-52 loss at Pitt. Maybe the crying will come. Temple up, 52-33, with 2:01 left and loses, 53-52.

  10. I realize its just the way Div. 1 football (and basketball) is done, but its a shame to see in writing that the best players are routinely signed up for the easiest classes across many majors just to keep them eligible and with no intention of working toward a degree that would give them a lifelong career. In that way, college athletics is a sham or, more to the point, “the student athlete” is a sham. At least Temple dropped him for “flunking out.” Or is that an April fool’s joke too?

    • In a real world , most of these kids shouldn’t have graduated from high school, never mind being admitted to college. At least colleges give these kids an opportunity to ply their trade (sports) and achieve a college degree regardless of its quality. Yes, in a sense these kids are being taken advantage of but it’s a two-way street and the kids are taking advantage of the university as well. Moreover, many of the kids playing the non-revenue sports do major in subjects that will get them a job and it would be an utter tragedy if they have to suffer because of a small number of greedy D-1 football and basketball players. In my mind, the push for unionization is a continuation of a belief that the world owes these kids because they have athletic talent.

  11. When they present Alabama and Florida State with the national championship trophy, Bob Costas doesn’t ask them how they kept the players eligible. Cincinnati won 3 of 4 Big East titles (when it was the BE) and nobody asked them how they kept the kids eligible. A’s in Chemistry classes won’t fill up Lincoln Financial Field with fans. Winning will.

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