Jake Bain, the openly gay Indiana State defensive back who gained national spotlight status appearing on "The Ellen Show" and in news stories across the globe, has quit the Indiana State football team.
Officials were notified earlier this month that Bain would not come back for his sophomore season so that he could focus on academics, said assistant director of athletic communications Tim McCaughan.
A request to talk to Bain through the team and multiple personal messages left for him were not answered.
Bain finished his freshman season playing in four games, according to team stats reported by the Sycamores.
In a January appearance with Ellen DeGeneres on her show, Bain told the host he wasn't sure any college would want him on its team. But once he got to Indiana State, Bain said, his worries were put to rest.
"Even before I committed there I talked to my coach about my sexuality and I wanted to be openly gay at Indiana State," Bain said. "And he assured me from the very beginning that I was going to be accepted by my community at Indiana State and that my teammates were going to treat me just like anybody else on the team. That just meant so much to me."
Mallory responded to IndyStar in an emailed statement: “Jake has decided to step away from football and focus on academics. He showed a fantastic work ethic during his freshman season and represented himself, the football program and Indiana State in a first-class manner. We wish him nothing but the best.”
Bain's Twitter page still features a profile picture of him on the field with a football in hand.
Bain was part of a panel at an inclusion forum held by the NCAA last week. It focused on making college athletes feel comfortable in sports and the classroom regardless of their differences.
The day after that forum, Bain tweeted "Events like these are so crucial for working towards a more inclusive and accepting environment for EVERY student-athlete, regardless of how they identify. I am proud to have worked with so many other great leaders to strive to achieve this goal! #NCAAInclusion – at Omni Hotel at CNN Center."
IndyStar reported on Bain's appearance with DeGeneres in January, describing his struggles with coming out.
He talked about being a football player in high school at John Burroughs in St. Louis, having just won the state championship his sophomore year.
Everyone kept telling him what an amazing athlete he was, what an incredible future he had in sports. Bain was a three-time all-state player and also broke Missouri state and school records in track.
As the accolades poured in, all Bain could think was: "But...I'm gay. Can a football player be gay?" At night, alone in bed, Bain would cry himself to sleep, begging to wake up straight, he said at the time.
"I was at an all-time high and I was getting so much attention for athletics," Bain told DeGeneres. "But at the same time, in the back of my head, I had started questioning my sexuality and what it was I truly wanted."
Weeks later, Bain came out in front of his classmates in an assembly. DeGeneres showed that clip before introducing Bain on her show.
Standing in a T-shirt with a rainbow and the word "Pride" on it, Bain told his high school: "I wanted so badly to be straight. There were countless nights where I would cry myself to sleep, begging to wake up straight, asking why it had to be me."