Bateman able to return to Gophers in 2020

Gophers star receiver Rashod Bateman’s eligibility was restored by the NCAA after his initial opt out of the 2020 season.

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Kamaan Richards

Gophers Wide Receiver Rashod Bateman carries the ball at the 2020 Outback Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1. The Gophers went on to take the game 31-24 over the Auburn Tigers.

Brendan O'Brien

With just a little over three weeks until the start of the 2020 football season, Minnesota received news that junior wide receiver Rashod Bateman is able to return to the team.

In a press conference last week, head coach P.J. Fleck, quarterback Tanner Morgan and running back Mohamed Ibrahim expressed how excited the team would be to have the star receiver return in 2020. Bateman announced in August he would be forgoing the season due to health concerns related to COVID-19.

When the Big Ten conference announced a new football season beginning in late October, Bateman expressed interest in returning to the Gophers and enrolled in classes at the university. He and the Gophers were waiting for the NCAA to restore his eligibility given Bateman signed with an agent, making him ineligible per NCAA rules.

With the news of his return also comes change for Bateman, as the 2019 Big Ten Receiver of the Year will change his jersey number from 13 to 0. He will be the first player in Minnesota history to wear the number, and is wearing it to represent zero tolerance for racism in Minnesota’s culture and as a call to action to end racism in society.

The addition of Bateman to the Gophers roster will certainly bring a dynamic element to the Gophers offense. In 2019, Bateman finished with 1,219 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 60 catches.