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NCAA restores eligibility for Gophers receiver Rashod Bateman

Bateman will be allowed to play this season, after he previously announced he would opt-out due to COVID-19 health concerns.
Credit: AP
Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman in a 2019 game. (AP Photo/Sarah Stier)

MINNEAPOLIS — One of the top offensive weapons for the MInnesota Gophers will be back on the field for the maroon and gold after all.

The NCAA restored eligibility for wide receiver Rashod Bateman on Wednesday, allowing him to play for the Gophers in the belated 2020 season.

In August, Bateman announced in an Instagram post that he would opt-out of the season due to personal health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and instead focus on the 2021 NFL Draft. He also signed with an agency in preparation for the draft.

FROM AUGUST: Gophers star WR Rashod Bateman not returning to team

However, last week, Coach P.J. Fleck said Bateman wanted to return to the team, following the Big Ten's decision to restore a shortened fall football schedule.

FROM LAST WEEK: Gopher receiver Rashod Bateman wants to opt back into 2020 season

In two years with the Gophers, Bateman has 111 catches for 1,923 yards over 26 games. The junior receiver is already tied for fifth in school history with 17 touchdowns in his collegiate career. Bateman was named Big Ten Receiver of the Year last season as a sophomore.

In a news release, the Gophers said Bateman would switch from wearing number 13 on his jersey to number 0, in a reference to zero tolerance for racism in society.

In a tweet Wednesday, Bateman thanked those who helped him get back onto the team, concluding with a variation on Coach Fleck's mantra, "Let's ROW."