Former OSU defensive back Micah Audiss adjusts to life after football

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

Micah Audiss is still active in the Corvallis community after parting ways with the football team in 2014

For some, transitioning from Division-I athletics can be difficult.

Micah Audiss has handled that transition just fine.

Audiss, a defensive back on the Oregon State football team from 2011-2013, is now close to finishing his electrical engineering degree and has devoted time and effort into bettering his community since he arrived in Corvallis.

He left the team shortly before the 2014 season began when he learned he was no longer on scholarship a week before fall camp began, but he didn’t let the situation hold him back. He now is a mentor in the Academics for Student Athletes program, volunteers with Corvallis YoungLife and married his “high school sweetheart” last July.

Audiss’ new commitments have been influential for those he helps and for himself. Audiss has volunteered at YoungLife for about two years in the Capernaum program, which hosts activities in Corvallis for disabled children. He has also volunteered at IMPACT, an OSU physical education program for youth with special needs.

“It opened my eyes,” Audiss said. “I think people don’t give handicapped people enough light. Yeah, they’re handicapped, but the majority of them can do exactly the same stuff you can, it might just take a little longer.”

Audiss also has volunteered with Bikes and Burritos, a group from Grace City Church in that hands out food and builds relationships with the homeless community in Corvallis.

In the summer of 2014, Audiss took part in an event put on by Candlelighters For Children with Cancer. He and four other football players went fishing on the McKenzie River with kids who had been diagnosed with cancer or who had lost siblings to cancer.

“All the kids were struck by his warmth, his compassion and his smile,” said Scott Spiegelberg, who works at OSU in career development with student athletes. “It was a day I know these kids and Micah will never forget.”

The Academics for Student Athletes mentorship program has been compelling for Audiss, especially since he was an athlete not long ago and now mentors players from the same team.

Audiss mentioned one player in particular who overlapped with Audiss in the football program and is still on the team. At first, the player didn’t want to be in Audiss’ group because they used to be teammates, but his mindset changed quickly due to their shared experiences in the program.

“It ended up working out because I probably understood him more than anyone else,” Audiss said. “I understand the struggle. I was very cut and dry… In a way, I really wanted to work with football players because I can relate better.”

Audiss balances his class load and extracurriculars with the added dedication of marriage; he and his longtime girlfriend Erin were married July 5, a year to the day after Audiss proposed.

“It’s super nice to have her there all the time when things are stressful,” Audiss said. “Having the girl I love to talk to makes stuff easier.”

All of these developments in Audiss’ life, from volunteering to marriage, came after he had to cope with his football career ending.

Audiss was a second-string defensive back for two years and was on multiple special teams units. He played in 16 games in 2012 and 2013, recording one interception and earning a scholarship in 2013. A week before fall camp began in 2014, the coaches informed Audiss the limited supply of scholarships had been given to other players. As an electrical engineering major, Audiss felt he couldn’t justify the time commitment to football without it paying for school, so he left the program.

His experience was repeated in Nolan Hansen, an offensive lineman from Corvallis High School who also earned a scholarship in 2013. Shortly before the 2015 season began, Hansen similarly found out he was no longer on scholarship and left the team.

“We both talked some after it all happened,” Hansen said, who is also married and still a student at OSU. “I think both of us had pretty good transitions away from football as we were involved in lots of things outside of it.

“He’s the type of guy that is going to do well in any situation that he is given,” Hansen said.

Without football, Audiss wasn’t lost; in fact, he has been able to make the most of the freedom from athletic obligations and time commitments.

“If Micah was a stock I would invest heavily in him,” Spiegelberg said. “He will undoubtedly be successful in life.”

Through his time on the football team, getting married, volunteering in Corvallis and studying engineering, Audiss has plenty of takeaways from his time at OSU. The biggest, he says, is balance. He still remembers a conversation in high school with his father, who wanted to make sure his son was spending appropriate amounts of time with his girlfriend, football practice, schoolwork, friends and other pursuits.

“If you have good balance, that’s your path to success,” Audiss said. “In college you have to balance schoolwork with relationships, and for me it’s balancing a relationship with God with other relationships you have. You can never separate your relationships from what you’re doing because relationships take work as well. And life’s about making loving relationships.”