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Minnesota Football: Rashod Bateman speaks with media about his return to Minnesota

The All-Big Ten wide receiver shares details of how he ended up back with the Gophers

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NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Minnesota vs Auburn Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As you know by now, Rashod Bateman is officially back, having been granted a waiver by the NCAA to be able to compete with the Minnesota Golden Gophers this season after reversing his initial decision to opt out. In the days since the announcement, he has been sharing his story with the media, and it is every bit the roller coaster ride you’d expect.

On Wednesday, Bateman sat down with KFAN’s Justin Gaard for the Golden Gopher Podcast to discuss a range of topics, including his decision to return to Minnesota, the waiver process with the NCAA, and how he broke the news to his teammates.

Give it a listen:

The Star Tribune’s Megan Ryan broke the news late Thursday night that Bateman had tested positive for COVID-19 over the summer. Though he recovered, Bateman, who has asthma, said that he was scared, “not knowing what it can do to my body because nobody really had any answers.” That personal experience and the uncertainty of how the Big Ten would keep players healthy led him to initially opt out of the fall 2020 season on Aug. 4.

And on Friday morning, The Athletic published a behind-the-scenes account of how Bateman went from texting Minnesota’s football general manager Gerrit Chernoff about the possibility of returning, to getting pulled aside by head coach P.J. Fleck before practice on Wednesday and being informed that the NCAA had approved his waiver.

Subscription required to read the full article, but here is an excerpt detailing how Bateman worked with the compliance office to satisfy the NCAA’s requirements:

School compliance officers had to catalog the “violations,” any money or benefits Bateman received after leaving school. Baratz helped in that regard, providing invoices, receipts and proof of payment for anything involving Bateman and also providing documentation that terminated the agent-player relationship.

One thing Bateman had going for him was that it was so early in the process of joining IFA that there had only been cursory discussions on marketing and branding opportunities and no formal agreements with any companies, Baratz said. That made the expenditures and benefits minimal and there were no endorsement deals that needed to be severed. Bateman also had to submit a statement about why he decided to leave school in the first place and why he wanted to return. Generally speaking, reinstatement cases like Bateman’s typically require the player to repay any financial benefits either immediately or through a payment program.

What separated Bateman’s case from other players in the Big Ten was that Bateman announced his decision to leave school before the conference made official its plans to shutter the fall season. Bateman told the NCAA his decision was based on concerns for his health after contracting COVID earlier in the summer, a situation that was exacerbated by the unclear protocols the conference would have for testing and attempting to control the spread of the virus. When Bateman left school, he argued, he had no choice but to sign with an agent so he could continue training in preparation for the draft.