With the Big Ten football season back on track, could the Gophers see the return of a star player? Wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who announced in early August that he would forego his junior season because of the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, is back on campus and wants to play for the Gophers.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports broke the story on Friday morning and Gophers coach P.J. Fleck issued this statement on Friday afternoon. The good news is that Bateman has been granted a waiver to practice with the Gophers.
— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 18, 2020
The issue is that Bateman has signed with an agent and will need clearance from the NCAA in order to regain his eligibility. The Big Ten, which postponed fall sports on Aug. 11 because of the pandemic, will now start its football season the weekend of Oct. 24. Bateman had 60 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns in 13 games last year in a spectacular sophomore season and, if cleared to play, his presence would be an enormous boost to Minnesota’s offense.
Bateman and other stars wanting to return will need clearance from the NCAA for the unique circumstances of this time. Bateman opted out in early August amid the lack of clarity of the season and uncertain health environment.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 18, 2020
Here’s the column from when Bateman decided not to play.