At the University of Oregon, anticipation was high prior to the 2009 football season. Among other weapons in the Ducks’ arsenal, they had one of the top quarterbacks in the nation: Jeremiah Masoli.
The Ducks did not disappoint. With Masoli at the helm of a dynamic offense, the Ducks gave their fans an exciting season. They finished at the top of the Pac 10 Conference and earned a spot in the Rose Bowl. Masoli was mentioned in some circles as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
He was a high profile quarterback with a bright future ahead.
When you are a promising young athlete, the spotlight is always on. High profile college football players are the fodder for discussion on sports shows, blogs, and magazine articles. Everything they do, good and bad, is documented and shared with the world. Sometimes the good and the bad can be blown out of proportion, so that these young athletes appear to be better – or worse – than they really are.
Coming off of such an amazing year, and with another year ahead to further establish his prowess, Masoli should have been guarding his future carefully. So imagine the shock and disappointment felt by Oregon fans when he was arrested and pled guilty to charges of misdemeanor burglary.
Head Coach Chip Kelly made the decision to suspend him for the season, with the opportunity to play again the following year. An offer of a second chance, which Masoli accepted.
Then, in June, Masoli was charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. He had failed to live up to his end of the bargain. Kelly immediately dismissed him from the team.
Jeremiah Masoli did some things that, in his words, “let a lot of people down.” For all his talent, he found himself homeless – a star quarterback without a team. However, in Coach Kelly’s words, “He’s made some bad decisions, but he’s not a bad kid.”
Masoli is now being given a third chance. He has enrolled at Ole Miss, where Coach Houston Nutt will accept him as a walk-on quarterback for the Rebels. Masoli is clearly grateful: “I am very excited about this opportunity and very thankful Ole Miss is giving me this chance.” Time will show what he will do with that chance.
The end of this story remains to be written.
Student athletes are still so young, and yet we expect them to succeed in superhuman ways amid a ton of pressure. That pressure certainly doesn’t justify bad decisions, but it does make for an uphill battle.
You and I may not be subject to the scrutiny of the masses, but we all are under some degree of pressure to succeed. And because we’re human, we are bound to disappoint now and then. Surely there have been times when we’ve all needed a second, third, or fourth chance to “get it right.”
Houston Nutt has given Jeremiah Masoli that chance at Ole Miss. Is there anyone in your life who needs another chance? Is it possible you need to give yourself another chance, too?