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Kansas State sophomore offensive tackle Scott Frantz publicly came out as gay in an interview with ESPN, joining incoming freshman My-King Johnson as the only active openly gay FBS Division I players for the 2017 college season.
Frantz, who started 13 games for the Wildcats last season, said the first time he ever came out to anyone was with all of his teammates during an offseason team-building exercise in 2015 — after Frantz’s redshirt season. Coach Bill Snyder brought in a motivational speaker, who encouraged players to reveal authentic details about themselves.
“So the very first time I said those words were in front of, you know, 110, 120 football guys,” Frantz told ESPN. “So you can imagine how scared I was, how nervous I was. … This could go either really bad or could go really good. And thankfully, my teammates embraced me with open arms, and it was great.
“I came out to my teammates, and I’ve never felt so loved and so accepted ever in my life than when I did that. And ever since then, it’s been great. I’ve grown so much closer to my teammates since. So it’s been an amazing experience.”
Frantz, who came out to his family shortly after telling his team, said he came to terms with his sexual orientation in fifth grade but wrestled with the truth until his junior year of high school. He said his biggest fear in high school was that being gay would detract recruiters for a Division I scholarship.
Snyder said Frantz’s sexual orientation wouldn’t have swayed his decision one direction or the other, and he wasn’t surprised with how the team embraced him.
“I was quite comfortable that they would be very receptive and that they would treat him as they always said,” Snyder told ESPN. “As … his teammate and someone that they cared about. And they did.”
Frantz’s public announcement comes on the heels of former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan’s coming out last month in conjunction with Pride month. Michael Sam’s All-America college career at Missouri had concluded when he came out publicly, and he never officially made an NFL roster despite being drafted in 2014.
While a handful of college football players have been publicly out across various NCAA and NAIA levels, that is not the case at the Division I level. Arizona State offensive lineman Chip Sarafin became the first openly gay major Division I football player in 2014, according to Outsports.
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