Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was announced as a member of the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee yesterday and has already been facing some criticism as the lone woman of the group. In response to those comments, Rice spoke to ESPN's Colin Cowherd, saying she is a "student of the game."
“With all due respect to my good friend Roger Goodell and Paul Tagliabue [the NFL's current and last commissioners, respectively], probably the most influential NFL commissioner was Pete Rozelle,” Rice said. “He never played football, so you can be a student of something and not experience it."
The comments were also a response to former Auburn coach Pat Dye, who said "you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt" to be able to understand the game and suggested that Rice only knows football by what she has seen on TV or read or was told by someone else.
Rice said she respectfully disagreed with Dye's comments and pointed out that two of the other appointees to the committee never played college football, either. Those members are former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese and former college football writer Steve Wieberg, neither of which appear to have received criticism for being selected.
The former National Security Advisor, 58, went on during the interview with Cowherd to relate her experience with foreign policy and her time as Secretary of State during the George W. Bush administration, saying "I am, Colin, after all a student of Russia, but I’ve actually never been Russian, either."
While Rice has never played college football, she's certainly not short on athletic experience. She is a former competitive figure skater as well as an avid tennis player and golfer and in 2009 served as an honorary captain for her alma mater Stanford's game against Notre Dame. Last summer, she cracked into another boy's club when she was became one of the first two women admitted as members of the Augusta National Golf Club.
The selection committee will be tasked with choosing the final four teams for the College Football Playoff when the sport ditches the BCS format next year. Members are expected to serve approximately three-year terms.