Rashod Bateman will sit out upcoming season over COVID-19 concerns

The Gophers star wide receiver announced Tuesday will forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility and prepare for the 2021 NFL draft.

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Wide receiver Rashod Bateman fights to hang on to the ball at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 9. The Gophers bested the Penn State Nittany Lions 31-26 to remain undefeated.

Julianna Landis

In a video posted to his Twitter account early Tuesday morning, Gophers’ star wide receiver Rashod Bateman announced that he will not be returning to the field for Minnesota next season. 

In the video, he thanks God, his family and his coaches in a voiceover over highlight clips. He describes the move as the “hardest decision that I have ever had to make in my life.” Bateman explains that due to the uncertainty and risk involved in playing during the pandemic, he has chosen to set aside his own wishes for the health of his family and community. 

After posting outstanding stats his sophomore season, with 60 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns, Bateman will continue training in preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft. 

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck addressed Bateman’s decision in a tweet of his own. 

“Rashod played a pivotal role in helping mold the University of Minnesota into an elite Big Ten program… I love Rashod and will always be there for him.” 

This is a breaking news report. More information will be added as it becomes available.