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The huddle

December 18, 2017

Redshirting: NCAA Rules and Regulations

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Student-athletes develop at a different pace, both physically and academically. “Redshirting” is one way the NCAA and its coaches can help athletes manage the transition from high school to college.

New redshirt rule in place for coaches state that football players will now be allowed to play in up to four games and still qualify for a redshirt season, maintaining four years of eligibility. In the past, playing just one game could cost a player an entire season of eligibility Athletes are allowed four years of eligibility to compete, and if you redshirt one year, you could ultimately get five years of education and experience. You can only have one redshirt and if your coach decides that you are to redshirt your freshman year, then that would be it for you.

Players and coaches may choose to redshirt for a number of reasons. Usually done in the first couple of years of eligibility, the most common reason to redshirt is to allow the athlete time to develop physically and mentally to the stronger, faster pace of collegiate competition. A second reason an athlete may redshirt is due to injury; called a “medical redshirt.” There are a few rules that come along with this:

  • The injury must be season-ending.
  • The injury must occur before the second half of the season.
  • The athlete cannot have competed in more than 30% of the season, or 3 competitions, before an injury.

A third, newly enacted rule by the NCAA, is the “academic redshirt.” This redshirt rule created the beginning of the 2016 calendar year; states athletes cannot compete if they don’t meet specific academic standards of the college or university coming out of high school. This rule was created to ensure athletes are focusing on classroom studies and not just on athletics. With this new rule, the NCAA hopes to increase graduation rates overall. To be an academic redshirt, an athlete must:

  • Complete 16 college courses.
  • Meet the academic redshirt sliding scale (GPA, SAT, ACT).
  • Graduate high school.

Though this rule is well-intended, it has been criticized for increased ineligibility numbers for the unprepared freshman, especially those from lower-income school districts.

So what happens if/when you are a redshirt? Should you be concerned? Not at all. Redshirting can be a positive experience. The coaching staff may think you need more time to develop your full athletic and academic potential. They are setting you up for success by giving you time to be stronger athletically and mentally. You are deemed an asset to the team. Redshirts can practice and train like the other student-athletes.

Although there are many benefits to redshirting, you will still practice and train just as hard as every other athlete on the team. You are expected to participate in practices, team meetings, study hall, etc. There is no such thing as “taking it easy” when you redshirt; when you focus on making yourself and the team better, you cannot go wrong. Just like anything else that comes with the college transition, redshirting requires an open mind and a can-do attitude. Be prepared and elevate your game.

Need an Eligibility Center account, go to: https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/