He was the first player to top 7,000 yards rushing and finished with 7,125 career yards on the ground. That’s over four miles worth of turf that Ron Dayne chewed up in his tenure as the Wisconsin Badgers’ tailback from 1995 to 1999. He graduated at the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher.
You’d think that would be enough to be a first-ballot selection for the College Football Hall of Fame, no?
According to the National Football Foundation, a player becomes eligible for consideration “ten years after his final year of intercollegiate football played.” For Dayne, his final game as a member of the Badgers came Jan. 1, 2000, when Wisconsin beat Stanford 17-9 to win the Rose Bowl, a game in which Dayne was named MVP.
By my calculation, that would have made Dayne eligible for entry into the College Football Hall of Fame at the beginning of 2010. Why did it take him three more years to get selected? I don’t have a good answer. Apparently graduating as the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher and as first-team All-American with a Heisman Trophy and a slew of other national awards under your belt doesn’t make the first-year cut.