Arizona State senior offensive lineman Edward "Chip" Sarafin has come out as gay, the school's athletic department confirmed after it was reported on Wednesday through a local magazine for gay sports.
He became the first active college football player to come out to the public, and followed in the footsteps of St. Louis Rams linebacker Michael Sam, who came out publicly following the conclusion of his collegiate career at Missouri.
Sarafin, who denied an interview request with USA TODAY Sports, told the Phoenix-based magazine for gay sports, Compete, of his sexual orientation in a nonchalant manner and said he told his teammates last spring.
"It was really personal for me, and it benefited my peace of mind greatly," he said in the magazine.
"We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual's commitment to the Sun Devil Way," ASU coach Todd Graham said in a statement. "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."
Arizona State vice president of athletics Ray Anderson echoed Graham's sentiments.
"The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him," Anderson said in a statement. "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."
The 6-6 320-pound walk-on Sarafin hasn't played in an actual game according to the school's athletic department.
Sarafin and the football program are expected to release an official statement late Wednesday.