Sunday, September 20, 2020

MSU starting defensive tackle Jacub Panasiuk opts out of 2020 season, cites COVID-19 concerns

August 5, 2020
<p>Junior defensive end Jacub Panasiuk (96) pushes back Wisconsin players during the game against Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium on October 12, 2019. The Spartans lost to the Badgers 38-0. </p>

Junior defensive end Jacub Panasiuk (96) pushes back Wisconsin players during the game against Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium on October 12, 2019. The Spartans lost to the Badgers 38-0.

Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

Hours after the Big Ten released the 2020 conference-only season schedule, Michigan State's starting defensive tackle Jacub Panasiuk announced via Twitter that he would be opting out of the 2020 season.

"Our country is facing difficult times with many unanswered questions regarding Covid-19," the 6-foot-3 senior said in his statement. "Unfortunately, with the uncertainty of the effects of Covid-19, I cannot risk my health and safety in order to play football this season."

Abiding by the Big Ten's guidelines surrounding the season, Panasiuk will still maintain his scholarship eligibility despite redshirting the season.

Panasiuk had a breakthrough 2019 season where he posted career highs in tackles (34), tackles for loss (11 for 58 yards) and sacks (five for 32 yards). He is an active leader for the Spartans, being a three-year letterwinner and earning MSU's Outstanding Underclass Lineman Award on defense this past season.

The 245-pound powerhouse isn't the first in the conference to make the decision either. Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman and Illinois running back Ra'Von Bonner have also voiced their decisions to opt out, among others across various conferences.

If the 2020 football season does play out, MSU is set to play Minnesota on Sept. 5 for the season opener.

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