Rashod Bateman wants to play in 2020

Bateman may need clearance from the NCAA to return, but a reinstatement process could be another way for him to play for the Gophers again.


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.

In early August, many doubted the Big Ten conference would play football in 2020.

Then on Aug. 4, Gophers’ star receiver Rashod Bateman decided to opt out of the 2020-21 season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft and also cited concerns over COVID-19. Bateman has asthma.

But on Wednesday, the Big Ten announced its altered plans to play an eight game conference season beginning the weekend of Oct. 23-24. The Big Ten cited added protocols and information by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force as reasons for starting the season.

Now, the junior receiver wants to return to the Gophers for the fall season, according to Pete Thamel, a college football reporter at Yahoo Sports.

“Minnesota star WR Rashod Bateman wants to play for the Gophers in 2020. He’s back on campus and enrolled as a full-time student,” Thamel said on Twitter.

According to Thamel, Bateman will need clearance from the NCAA in order to return in 2020. Bateman has already signed with an agent, which makes him ineligible per NCAA rules, but he could return through the Student-Athlete Reinstatement process.

Bateman was second on the team in receiving yards and touchdowns last season with 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns behind only Tyler Johnson, who Minnesota lost to the NFL Draft. Without their top two receivers from a season ago, the Gophers are thin at the receiving position. They will return their third and fourth leading receivers in redshirt juniors Chris Autman-Bell and Demetrius Douglas. Bateman’s addition would add much needed depth.