This morning, Pete Thamel is reporting that Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman, a projected first round pick who opted out of the season after the Big Ten postponed Fall football, wants to opt back in:
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
This is a no-brainer. The NCAA should let him opt back in. Bateman made his decision when it looked like the Big Ten was going to play football starting in January at the earliest. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren vowed not to reconsider the decision. Warren and the conference chancellors and presidents deserve credit for considering the new information — the advent and availability of rapid testing — and players who opted out of the Big Ten and Pac-12 (which also looks like it’s returning in late October) should be afforded the opportunity to do the same.
There are other star players whom this could affect. Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons opted out and was reportedly expected to sign with an agency. Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell opted out and signed with an agency. There has been no word as of yet whether they hope to return to their programs. Star LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase opted out of the season to declare for the NFL Draft; his circumstance is a little different in that LSU’s season was still scheduled. But if he wanted to change his mind and play I’d be for that too. It’s been a peculiar year.
This shouldn’t even be a question for the NCAA. Let these Big Ten and Pac-12 players return to school if that’s what they want to do.
UPDATE: PJ Fleck has issued a statement hoping Bateman can be cleared:
— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 18, 2020
And Micah Parsons is reportedly “thinking about” returning:
I was told Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons is "thinking about it" and weighing options on if he wants to opt back in for the season or not.
He declared for the draft and signed with an agent, so he would have some hoops to jump through to get back his eligibility.
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) September 17, 2020
There are several more players in the same boat as well:
We mentioned this the other day, of nine Big 10 opt-outs that declared for the draft, six signed with agents: Michigan WR Nico Collins, CB Ambry Thomas and OT Jalen Mayfield, Penn State LB Micah Parsons, Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater and Bateman.
Trickier for them to return. https://t.co/ShmL9ATupO
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 18, 2020