A Bus In The Frat House? | Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis Graduates From Notre Dame 29 Years Later

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Jerome “The Bus” Bettis left South Bend, Indiana, for the NFL in 1993. The bruising yet nimble power back would go on to have a Hall of Fame career after being selected by the Los Angeles Rams with the tenth overall pick in that year’s draft.

While his career on the gridiron reached the pinnacle of the sport, Bettis still had some unfinished business back at Notre Dame. And it involved getting his degree.

In a tweet, Bettis made the announcement thats he’s received his degree.

“A promise made, a promise kept, (more than) 28 years after leaving Notre Dame, I’ve completed my degree from the Mendoza School of Business. I hope my journey serves as a reminder that education is the true equalizer in life and it’s never too late.”

“It Is So Strange Because I Am So Behind The Times. I’m A Dinosaur” | Hall Of Famer Jerome Bettis Returns To Notre Dame To Finish Degree

Bettis Promised Mom He’d Go Back For Degree

“The Bus,” wanted to keep his promise to his mom, one he made when he turned pro in 1993. 

In a January interview with the “Today” show Bettis explained: 

“I promised my mother that I would get my degree. In my immediate family, I’ll be the first person to graduate from college. But most importantly, I have two children. For them to see dad finish a commitment that he set out some 27 years ago, for me to compete that, I think it says a lot to them.”

Bettis returned to school in January, just four courses shy of his degree. And at 49, he called himself a dinosaur as pertains to the classroom. But one thing he also stated is he’s much more focused with football in the rearview mirror.

“I am a much better student at 49, because I want to learn, I want to know all this information.”


Other Factors Swayed Bettis To Finish As Well

While keeping that promise to mom was the main reason for Bettis pursuing his degree, there were other factors that urged him and he shared them in a February interview on the “Adam Schefter Podcast.”

“Actually, it was a few things,” Bettis said. “One, me and my wife, we created an endowment for the football program. Coming back and doing that, one of the assistants asked me, Hey, have you considered finishing? (That put in my mind) and then you know, a couple years passed and I considered it more and more, and as my kids started to get older, I said to myself this is something I need to really think about. 
“Then COVID presented the opportunity initially, for me to take some classes at home. I wasn’t doing anything, so it was a great opportunity. And then I needed to come back on campus for the last 12 credits and I was just like, Oh, man. I don’t know if I could do that. But my wife, she was incredible through the process. [She said] Hey, this is what you need to do. You need to do it, because our kids are watching. And so I said, 100 percent I’m doing it. I want my kids to know how important education is. It’s so important. I decided to go back to school when I didn’t have to to get my degree.”

Bettis Won A Super Bowl: Eighth All-Time Rusher In NFL History

In his illustrious HOF career Bettis carried the mail to the tune of over 13,000 rushing yards and 91 touchdowns. He retired as the sixth all-time leading rusher, but he’s since been bumped to eighth with Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson joining the top five ranks.

Winning Super Bowl 40 in his hometown of Detroit with the Steelers was the culmination of a legendary gridiron career. 

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