Troy Aikman Completes Final 'Pass'


By Wendy Soderburg '82

Published Mar 4, 2009 3:08 PM

Back in the day: Aikman at UCLA.

When Troy Aikman completed his last season as quarterback of the UCLA football team in fall of 1988, he left without completing his degree. Not that he had much of a choice, mind you — as the No. 1 draft pick in 1989, he was snatched up and signed by the Dallas Cowboys in April and required to report for training camp immediately.

It was the start of an incredibly successful football career in which Aikman led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl championships and, with 90 wins in the 1990s, became the winningest starting quarterback of any decade in NFL history.

Aikman opted to stay in football after his retirement as a player in 2000, joining FOX's NFL telecasts as a color commentator in 2001 and becoming part of the network's lead announcing crew a year later. It's a job the Pro-Football Hall-of-Famer continues to enjoy.

Still, Aikman was bothered by the fact that he had never finished his UCLA education. "I hated that I'd spent 4-1/2 years in college and couldn't say I had gotten my degree," he said recently. For the last several years, in fact, the busy TV sportscaster admitted that he had tried many times to start school again, only to quit for various reasons.

Then, in 2007, UCLA Associate Athletic Director Bobby Field called Aikman to ask if he had given any thought to finishing his degree. "I told him I had," Aikman recalled, "and he said, 'Well, if I'm able to find something online that fulfills those requirements, would you be willing to do it?' I said, 'Absolutely!' "

Read the full story at UCLA Today to find out about how Aikman finished his degree through UCLA Extension's online courses, juggling his broadcasting duties with homework, and find out whether his mom is more excited about Aikman's induction into the College Football Hall of Fame or his UCLA diploma. You can also keep up with Aikman on his Twitter page.



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