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Utah State's Gary Andersen clarifies comments that his players don't have the option of opting out in 2020

Nick Bromberg
·3 min read
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Utah State coach Gary Andersen took to the radio Friday to clarify comments that he made to reporters about his players being able to opt out of the 2020 football season.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Andersen told reporters that Utah State players are not able to opt out of the season. Players across the country have been opting out of the season because of their concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty surrounding the 2020 college football season.

“At least in our program, we don’t have an opt out. And it’s not an option,” Andersen said per the Tribune. “If you opt out, you’re not with us.”

Friday afternoon, Andersen appeared on The Zone Sports Network in Utah and said he realized that he had misspoken. He said that he used the word “policy” when referring to the fact that Utah State had no players choosing to opt out in 2020 and should not have referred to a policy of any kind.

“Our kids if they did decide to opt out we are in support of that,” Andersen said.

He also said he understood why people believed his previous comments meant that he was preventing players from opting out.

“I obviously didn’t explain it the right way, I suppose,” Andersen said.

You can listen to his interview clarifying his comments here. The clarification comes after the Tribune said that Utah State told it that Andersen wasn’t comfortable clarifying his original comments.

Andersen’s prior language regarding opt outs was hypocritical. He’s the same coach that quit his job at Oregon State during the 2017 season because he didn’t like the way things were going. Andersen’s team was 1-5 at the time of his departure.

While Andersen’s parting with Oregon State was officially termed a “mutual” decision, texts from Andersen to a reporter revealed his unhappiness with his assistant coaches. He also did not get any of his $12 million buyout when he left the Beavers.

Utah State coach Gary Andersen on the sidelines against Fresno State during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Fresno, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)
Utah State coach Gary Andersen doesn't seem willing to let any of his players opt out of the 2020 season. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)

Every NCAA player is getting an extra year of eligibility. A player who doesn’t play in 2020 does not lose a year of eligibility. Players who opt out get to keep their scholarships per NCAA rules.

Utah State is part of the Mountain West Conference. The MWC was one of the first conferences to postpone the 2020 season and one of the last to announce a start date. Utah State and most other MWC teams will start play on Oct. 24.

Andersen is in the second year of his second tenure at Utah State. He coached the team for four seasons before he was hired at Wisconsin. He quit after his second season with the Badgers to go to Oregon State. He said after he left Wisconsin that he was frustrated with the school’s relatively high academic admission standards.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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