May 23, 2013Vol. 43, Issue 3

You Can Play

Student-Athletes Create Video Welcoming LGBT Athletes

If you’re a good enough athlete to play for Chico State, you can play – regardless of your sexual orientation. That’s the message Tommy McGuan, Dillon Breen and the Chico State Student Athlete Advisory Committee convey in the “You Can Play” video they recently produced.

“I have a family member who is gay and I also have a number of friends who are gay and I think it’s a message that needs to be delivered,” he said.

A sophomore on Chico State’s cross country and track and field teams, McGuan knew he wanted to make a difference regarding the issues facing many close to him. He just didn’t know he would do it by making a video.

That idea came when LGBTQ issues in sport expert Dr. Pat Griffin spoke to Chico State’s student-athletes last December and introduced them to the You Can Play project.

2012 Track and Field Athlete Tommy McGuan.

“I was really inspired. I realized there was something I could do if I had a little help.”

McGuan enlisted the support of friend and teammate Dillon Breen, who had the video-making skills to turn McGuan’s plan into a reality. He then presented the idea to Chico State Assistant Athletic Director Mitch Cox and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

“Everyone was on board,” said McGuan. “SAAC was a huge help. Without that group, the video would not have been made.”

“I’m also really grateful for Mitch’s input. He challenged me to improve the original script and I’m glad he did because it made a huge difference.”

All that was left to do was the hard work. McGuan and Breen bounced between classes and hustled before practice to get shots of coaches and athletes from throughout the department.

“We basically filmed whatever we could whenever we could,” said McGuan. “We put it together piece by piece.”

The resulting video has been a rousing success,  viewed nearly 2,200 times in the first 60 hours after it was posted.

“I’m kind of taken aback. I knew it would be big but I didn’t think it would be this big,” said McGuan. “I’m just thankful for all the support.”

McGuan’s actually not just, thankful. He’s also planning what’s next.

“I want to do more. I want to be able to help more. Not even just this, but there’s so much we can do as students in college that we don’t really realize,” he said. “We can really make a difference in our community.”

He is in the early stages of planning a nationwide contest encouraging students around the world to make their own video.

“We would need sponsors, websites and everything, but I think it could really be successful,” he explained.

McGuan wanted to make a difference. Now that he and his friends have, it seems this may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Luke Reid, Sports Information Director, Intercollegiate Athletics.

*This story originally appeared on

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