Arizona State lineman Chip Sarafin says he is gay

ASU's Edward "Chip" Sarafin is believed to be the first publicly gay major division college football player.

Arizona State walk-on offensive lineman Edward "Chip" Sarafin came out as gay Wednesday, becoming the first active major division college football player to do so publicly.

Sarafin, a fifth-year senior out Highland High School in Gilbert, came out in an article published by Tempe-based Compete Magazine, an LGBT sports publication founded in 2006. The article by Joshua Wyrick focuses primarily on Sarafin’s academics at ASU, which include pursuing a master’s degree in biomedical engineering, and addresses Sarafin’s sexual preference as a casual aside.

Sarafin said in the article he began telling teammates he was gay last spring, wanting them to hear the news from him.

"It was really personal to me, and it benefited my peace of mind greatly," Sarafin said.

ASU had wrapped up its morning practice in Payson, Ariz., on Wednesday before word broke of Sarafin’s revelation. ASU Vice President of University Athletics Ray Anderson and head coach Todd Graham issued statements Wednesday afternoon.

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.

Arizona State coach Todd Graham on senior lineman Chip Sarafin

"We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual’s commitment to the Sun Devil Way," Graham said. "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."

Said Anderson: "The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him. 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."

Sources said Sarafin told the ASU coaching staff he is gay more than a year ago and they were aware the article was coming.

Sarafin holds a depth position and contributes on special teams. He did not play in his first two seasons.

Other college football players have been openly gay with their teammates — notably Michael Sam at Missouri last season — but Sarafin appears to be the first publicly gay college football player at a FBS school.

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