Kent State’s message to student-athletes: ‘You can be whoever you are’

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KENT, Ohio-- Everyone is different, and Kent State University wants to make it clear that it takes great pride in welcoming people who are different.

And that's what's behind Kent State’s new video.

It's letting all student-athletes know that if they're athletic enough to make the team they can play no matter what their sexual orientation without fear of exclusion.

“This athletics video is kind of like the next piece of it," KSU LGBTQ Student Center Director Ken Ditlevson said. “We've got an area where there has been a lot of stereotypes and a lot of bias that men can't be gay, that's not okay on a sports team, well that's not the case. We're in 2015 and you can be whoever you are.”

The KSU video will join more than 100 others as part of the 'You Can Play Project.'

It's a national effort to encourage LGBTQ athletes to be comfortable as part of a team.

The school’s athletic director said it was a natural that Kent State joined this effort.

“We're kind of wired that way to begin with. That's why athletics was a natural for us, the way we're wired and we're so inclusive for that team victory and what it takes to operate as a team," Joel Nielsen said.

And for students seeing the video for the first time, it's a message that they say makes a definite statement about their school.

“I think if anyone had any insecurities about being on a team and saw this video, they would feel like more comfortable about getting involved," freshman Jasmine Hunt said.

“It kind of makes it feel like KSU is a place that includes all and I don't want go to a university that's divisive," sophomore Devyn Pawling said.

The video will go live for the first time on Tuesday.

The university said it will promote it on social media as a way to let everyone know that Kent State truly is for everyone.

Kent is the first college or university in Northeast Ohio to join the 'You Can Play Project.'

Watch the entire video below:


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