What is a Redshirt?
We hear the term redshirt all the time. Watching college football on Saturdays, you often hear the broadcasters talk about redshirt players. But what does redshirt mean? Does it matter beyond football?
To redshirt means to sit out of competition a year. During the redshirt year, you are able to practice, but not compete. If you enter a competition for even one second, your redshirt disappears.
a college athlete who is withdrawn from college sporting events during one year in order to develop skills and extend the period of playing eligibility by a further year at this level of competition.
keep (an athlete) out of college competition for a year.
How could being a Redshirt affect you?
When you enter college and begin practicing with a team, you have an athletic clock that begins to tick. From that point, you have four years of eligibility, total, in which you can actually compete. You have 10 semesters (five years) to complete these four years.
At small colleges, it is uncommon to receive a ‘freshmen redshirt’. The bigger and better the program, the more likely that there will be athletes on that team who redshirt as freshmen. If a coach decides to redshirt you, you practice with the team like everyone else, but you are not allowed to take part in any competitions.
What is a Medical Redshirt?
If a player sustains an injury and is unable to compete for a season they will redshirt. When this occurs, the athlete may apply to the NCAA or NAIA for a ‘medical redshirt’. If granted, the athlete rehabs and possibly begins to practice with the team, but may not enter into any competitions during that year.
Injuries that occur in the first few games of the season, may still allow an athlete to get a medical redshirt for that year. If this happens to you, the athletic trainer at your institution will walk you through the process and most likely take care of the process of applying for a medical red shirt.
A medical redshirt is different than a regular redshirt in that if you are injured in the first 30% of the season, you may apply for the season to be a redshirt and not lose a year of eligibility.
Can you redshirt if you play in a game?
Being a College Redshirt and your athletic clock
A redshirt can only help expand your years to compete by one. Remember, your ten semester clock began when you entered college and came out for the first day of practice. After ten semesters, if you have only played two years, that is all you get. There are no exceptions other than the one year redshirt.
How many Redshirt years can you have?
Just one. If the coach decides to redshirt you your freshmen year that is all you get. If you are injured before your junior year and miss the season, you are not eligible for a medical redshirt. You have already used your redshirt year up.
Will a Redshirt year affect graduation?
No. It has nothing to do with your academics. You would have the option of extending your undergrad work out to five years, or you could enroll in a Master’s program at your university your fifth year.
What are the benefits to taking a Redshirt year?
- It gives you an additional year to develop as a player without losing one of your four seasons of eligibility.
- It gives you a chance to get used to college life and focus on your academics without the added pressure of games. Not that long ago that freshmen did not ever play in games. Have you seen the movie We Are Marshall? After the plane crash that killed 37 players and 8 coaches, Marshall had to petition the NCAA to let freshmen play the following year so the university could field a team.
- An extra year of maturity will allow you to get stronger and smarter on the field or court.
Could there be a Redshirt change coming?
College football coaches attending the American Football Coaches Association’s annual convention in January, 2018 were asked about altering the redshirt rule to allow players to participate in up to four games a season and still retain a redshirt status. The coaches were unanimous in their support for this move.
*This is not a rule change, but it is something the Division 1 football coaches are asking for.
“The coaches were “unanimous,” according to executive director Todd Berry, in support of a significant rule change regarding player eligibility. Berry hopes the coaches’ endorsement would help push the ACC’s proposal to approval at the upcoming NCAA Convention, perhaps even in time for the 2018 season. He said the only pushback he’s heard was that other sports might want a similar rule change.” USA Today Football Redshirt Rule
Berry is correct. If football gets a change, other sports are sure to ask for a similar exception.
Next, take a look at NCAA and NAIA Recruiting Rules.
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