|Offensive lineman Chip Sarafin is entering his senior season with the Sun Devils.|
When Michael Sam told the world he was gay in February, it was hailed as a milestone event in football to have the first openly gay NFL draft prospect. Sam went on to become a seventh-round pick of the St. Louis Rams and is the league's first openly gay active player.
Six months after Sam's announcement, Arizona State offensive lineman Chip Sarafin came out publicly to a local magazine. He is believed to be the first active, Division I college football player to come out as gay.
Sarafin told Compete magazine that his Sun Devils teammates found out this past spring.
"It was really personal to me," Sarafin said. "It benefited my peace of mind greatly."
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound redshirt senior arrived in Tempe as a walk-on and is a backup center. Sam congratulated Sarafin in a tweet, and Arizona State showed support for Sarafin on Wednesday, too.
Congratulations Chip Sarafin for having the courage to be yourself. Wishing you and your teammates much success this season. #courage2014â Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 13, 2014
"The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him," Arizona State athletics director Ray Anderson said in a statement.
Head coach Todd Graham also backed Sarafin in a statement.
"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 in the statement. "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."
Sarafin did not see any action his first two seasons with the team after redshirting in 2010, per his Arizona State bio, but played on special teams in 2013.
The announcement that Sarafin is gay came almost as a footnote in the profile of him in the Phoenix magazine, which focused mostly on his pursuit of a master's degree in biomedical engineering.
You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.