In a ceremony during Saturday's homecoming game against Tennessee Tech, Eastern Illinois University will induct Tony Romo into the school's Hall of Fame, and retire his number 17, which he wore for four years in Charleston.
Per Todd Archer at the Dallas Morning News, the ceremony was moved a week to accommodate Romo's schedule.
Romo was three-time All-Ohio Valley Conference and a three time recipient of the OVC Player of the Year Award; after his senior year in 2002, Romo won the Walter Payton Award as the nation's most outstanding player in what was then called Division I-AA football.
In an article in Charleston's local newspaper, the Journal Gazette-Times Courier, the issue of Romo's celebrity is broached, with writer Brian Nielsen describing the ineluctable change in Romo that will be seen this weekend, citing a sports-information e-mail sent on behalf of Romo to local media:
“Please do not approach Tony and his guests other than at this designated time as we will have a police escort for him on the sideline and they will be told to ask people to leave the stadium," the e-mail says.
While this may seem a piece of evidence that Romo has changed or "gone Hollywood," as Nielsen points out, such measures are now necessary for Romo, who is the undisputed most famous alum of EIU (edging out John Malkovich and Mike Shannahan); "His world is what has changed," says Nielsen.
“Our athletic department has been deluged by requests to spend some special time with him,” EIU football coach Bob Spoo said in the JG-TC. “I don’t know that he can spread himself that thin.”
This is true; Romo only has so much time, after all. As far as money, though, the kid from Burlington, Wisconsin is doing alright. He donated $100,000 to his alma mater recently.