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Rovell graduated from Roslyn High School in Roslyn Heights, New York in 1996.
He attended and graduated cum laude from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, in 2000, where he is on the advisory board for graduate programs in sports administration. He majored in theater. However, he also hosted a college radio show about sports business.
Rovell interned for FoxSports.com.
He has anchored five primetime documentaries for CNBC:
Rovell wrote the book First In Thirst: How Gatorade Turned The Science of Sweat Into A Cultural Phenomenon and co-wrote the book On the Ball: What You Can Learn About Business From America's Sports Leaders with David Carter.
Rovell was part of the Outside the Lines report that disclosed the NCAA's investigation into whether Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was earning money from the sale of autographs, in potential violation of NCAA rules. This was never confirmed as Rovell's alleged sources would not speak to the NCAA and confirm his story.
In November 2009, Rovell made controversial remarks in an article regarding an American athlete, Meb Keflezighi, the first American to win a New York City Marathon since 1982, by suggesting that he was a ringer. He later apologized.
On November 17, 2011, Rovell sent a tweet to his followers on Twitter, asking them to come forward with stories about how their businesses were losing money during the 2011 NBA lockout. A high school senior named "Tim," annoyed with Rovell's behavior at the time, created a fake name and email account, telling Rovell online that he owned an escort service in New York frequented by NBA players, which was losing 30% of its business. Rovell failed to verify the authenticity, and ran the story in a CNBC column. "Tim" came forward with the story months later to the website Deadspin, because, he said, "he's just such a [expletive] on twitter all the time [I] just got fed up." Deadspin made Rovell aware of his mistake. On the same day, Rovell released an apology on CNBC saying, "there will always be people out there who want their 15 minutes of fame and not really care how they get there."
In the October 2012 ESPN 30 for 30 episode entitled "Broke" and in a written piece on ESPN.com, Rovell made several incorrect statements about the NFL Players Association's Financial Advisor Program. Even after the NFLPA's attempts to correct the falsehoods with ESPN fact checkers, Rovell's inaccurate comments were included (and remain) in the documentary. His written article was altered to reflect the truth, but without an editor's note to indicate the correction.
On April 20, 2014 at the 2014 NBA Playoffs, Rovell posted an insensitive tweet at Game 1 between the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. The tweet featured a photo of an obese fan sitting court-side at the game and read "Cost of 2 courtside seats (at) tonight's Bulls game is $5K". After some criticism he deleted the tweet and later posted a rare apology, citing poor judgment. However, the offending tweet had been saved by BigCat of the blog Barstool Sports. Rovell was promptly disgraced by the Internet. By April 25 Rovell hadn't posted another tweet since the apology, leading many to speculate whether ESPN had privately suspended him from Twitter, especially considering he posted nothing about Meb Keflezighi winning the 2014 Boston Marathon. ESPN would only state that they were addressing the matter with Rovell.  He was back on Twitter April 28, 2014.