Sun Devil Athletics has released two statements in support of gay student-athlete Chip Sarafin.
Sarafin’s coming out is a milestone in college football. While St. Louis Rams linebacker Michael Sam came out publicly last year, it was after the end of his collegiate football career.
Sarafin, who opened up about his homosexuality to local LGBT sports mag Compete Magazine, is the first active out college football player in the nation.
“The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him,” says Vice President of University Athletics Ray Anderson in a statement.
Sarafin, a fifth-year senior pursuing his masters in biomedical engineering, told Compete he came out to his team last spring.
“It was really personal to me, and it benefited my peace of mind greatly,” he says in the article.
Todd Graham, head coach for the Sun Devils, says diversity and acceptance are pillars of the football program.
“We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual’s commitment to the Sun Devil way,” he says in a statement.
Aside from his work as offensive lineman and grad student, Sarafin is a Tillman Scholar and is involved in youth sports.
“[His] commitment to service is unmatched and it is clear he is on his way to leading a successful life after his playing career, a goal that I have for every student-athlete,” Graham says.