The Daily Gamecock

Lattimore accepts bid "to spread the word of Christ"

Alpha Tau Omega member explains tailback’s bid


Sophomore tailback Marcus Lattimore provided insight into his decision to accept a honorary bid from South Carolina’s chapter of Alpha Tau Omega in a statement provided by USC athletics media relations.

“It’s just another opportunity for me to spread the word of Christ to my brothers and the rest of the student body,” Lattimore said.

A member of Alpha Tau Omega, Bryce Garvey, who became a close friend of Lattimore’s as a student manager for the football team, said that he and Lattimore had discussed the possibility of his becoming an honorary member for a couple of months.

“He knew I was in a fraternity, and he showed interest to me, just asking about what our fraternity is all about,” said Garvey, a fourth-year sport and entertainment management student. “Why am I in a fraternity? What do I do in a fraternity? He showed a little interest to me, and so I brought it up to our executive board and said that I think Marcus is a great guy. He’s a very good guy. He’s a very good person — everyone knows that.”

Garvey said that Lattimore seemed like a good fit for the fraternity, citing Lattimore’s personal Christian values and the fraternity’s Christian base.

“I started talking to him and was just seeing his interest on it,” Garvey said. “It came up in random conversation — just, ‘Hey man, what do you think about this?’ He was real psyched about it, and he said he wanted to know more about it. Over the past little while, I’ve been able to explain to him what a fraternity is, what it’s about, how we run things, what we do and he’s really taken to it and he wants to definitely be a big part of our fraternity. We’re all obviously ecstatic that he’s going to be one of our brothers. He seems just as excited to be one of our brothers, too.”

Alpha Tau Omega President Brett Bowman would not comment on the specifics of Lattimore being an honorary member, specifically, if he’ll have to pay dues, use the fraternity meal plan or study and learn the history of the fraternity. On Monday night, Vice President Dylan Nalbandian said that Lattimore “gets the liberty of not having to pledge.”

Garvey said that the fraternity would be respectful of Lattimore’s schedule.

“His schedule is way different than anybody else that’s pledging right now,” Garvey said. “I want to say that he will be pledge class of Spring 2012, but his schedule’s different from everyone else’s, and obviously we’re willing to work around that, just as he’s willing to work with us. He will participate in a lot of the stuff the fraternity does, and he will be able to have the experience that everyone that joins Alpha Tau Omega gets.”

Nalbandian said that after Lattimore accepted his honorary bid, he was given a paddle and an Alpha Tau Omega T-shirt. The fraternity will hold a formal initiation in the coming weeks, and plans to reach out to USC coach Steve Spurrier, an alumnus of the University of Florida’s Alpha Tau Omega chapter, to be present at the initiation.

Garvey said that Lattimore was not aware that Spurrier, as well as wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr., was an alumnus of Alpha Tau Omega.

Garvey was the first to tell Lattimore of his new connection with Spurrier and Spurrier Jr.

“He started laughing and thought it was really funny,” Garvey said. “He didn’t have much to say about it, but he thought it was funny that it was a big coincidence that his coach is an ATO.”

When asked why Lattimore decided to accept a bid from Alpha Tau Omega rather than any other fraternities, Garvey said it likely had to do with the fraternity’s core beliefs as well as his relationship with Lattimore.

“I think one of our big things is that we’re a Christian-based fraternity,” Garvey said. “That’s one of our main values, and that seems to be one of Marcus’ main values. I guess there are other fraternities that he may have enjoyed. Me being in my fraternity and me being friends with Marcus, I could have asked other people to do it, but he just seemed to fit perfectly with all of our brothers.”

Garvey said he has the closest relationship with Lattimore, but that Lattimore knows other members of the fraternity. He also said that Lattimore is looking forward to getting to know the rest of the fraternity.

“We gave him his bid and gave him a round of applause,” Garvey said. “He said he was happy to be one of our brothers. He’s happy to get to know everyone and to just spend time down at our house with us. He said little things like having dinner with us and coming down to just hang out and visit and get to know everybody — just become one of the brothers.”

On Alpha Tau Omega’s national website, The Daily Gamecock’s story on Lattimore accepting a bid to USC’s Alpha Tau Omega chapter is cited, but several of the details provided by Nalbandian were omitted, such as Lattimore being the first black brother in the Alpha Phi chapter, as well as details regarding his exclusion from pledgeship.