Kent State will wear No. 54 on its helmets during the 2014 season to honor Jason Bitsko, the center who tragically died overnight in the bedroom of his off-campus apartment this week.
Bitsko started all 12 games at center for the Golden Flashes last season and was expected to start again in 2014. He was given the team's Gerald and Victoria Read Award in April "for exemplifying hard work and dedication beyond the call of duty." Police have called cited "an undetermined medical issue" as the cause of death.
“Our players, coaches and everyone involved with our team are hurting because he was family,” head football coach Paul Haynes said. “As a team, we will come together and get through this one day at a time.”
According to the Akron Beacon-Journal, Bitsko's family has already informed Haynes of their desire to see the center's scholarship go to a current walk-on.
Haynes and his wife visited Bitsko's family at the hospital yesterday. The father wanted to make sure Jason's scholarship went to a walk-on.— August Fagerstrom (@AugustF_ABJ) August 21, 2014