By: Rich Gray
In a ground-breaking moment for collegiate athletics, Arizona State offensive lineman Chip Sarafin publicly announced he is gay, becoming the first active-player to do so in college football.
Sarfain, a backup entering his senior season, told his story to Compete magazine, a Phoenix-based publication for gay sports. He came out to his Sun Devil teammates last spring, telling Compete, ““it was really personal for me and it benefited my peace of mind greatly.”
ASU Vice President of Athletics Ray Anderson and head coach Todd Graham showed their support shortly after the announcement.
“The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him,” Anderson said. “His undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, his pursuit of a master’s in the same field, his research involving football-related concussions, and his heavy involvement in the community with both youth sports in Arizona and the Tillman Scholars embodies all the characteristics that set our student-athletes apart and allows our university to maintain an environment of inclusiveness and progression.”
“We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual’s commitment to the Sun Devil Way,” said Graham. “Chip is a fifth-year senior and a Scholar Baller, a graduate and a master’s student. 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. Diversity and acceptance are two of the pillars of our program, and he has full support from his teammates and the coaching staff.”
Michael Sam, who become the first publicly gay football player in the NFL when the St. Louis Rams drafted him this year, showed his support on Twitter.
Congratulations Chip Sarafin for having the courage to be yourself. Wishing you and your teammates much success this season. #courage2014
— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 13, 2014
Sarafin is a Pat Tillman Scholar, studying in biomedical engineering with the goal of becoming a neurologist. He told Complete legendary ASU coach Frank Kush helped him earn a spot on the team as a walk-on. Sarafin has never played in a game and is not listed on the ASU depth chart.