Football Redshirt Rule Tabled But Not Dead For 2018

Football Redshirt Rule Tabled But Not Dead For 2018

While several rule changes for college football were passed for the upcoming season, one that had drawn a good deal of interest and discussion was tabled for a year. The Division I Council, in considering a proposal that would allow football student-athletes to participate in up to four games in a year without using a season of eligibility, decided not to approve it.

Support for the proposal was very strong, although not unanimous, among many football coaches. The AFCA and the vast majority of Division I coaches did support the changes. Proponents argue that late-season injuries and other factors often require student-athletes who hadn’t played all season to burn a year of eligibility for a small number of games. It would also, as an ancillary benefit, allow some players who weren’t ready to play at the start of the season to get some experience later on. Of course, it could also be used as a sort of try-out, with players getting time in the first couple games of the season, then going back to the bench to preserve their playing status. It could also be used to get players time in the late season in preparation for next year — an unintended consequence.

West Virginia running back Martell Pettaway rips off a big gain

Those potential drawbacks  led to the decision to study the proposal for an additional amount of time. According to an NCAA release, “Others wonder whether the proposal could be applied to other sports, as well, whether the number of games in the proposal is appropriate, and whether the timing of the four games mattered.” Could the four games of play occur anytime during the season, or only at the beginning or end? What would the effect be on, say basketball, where the same standards would allow a player to appear in seven or eight game before having the year count?

The Football Oversight and Student-Athlete Experience Committees are expected to review these and other potential questions, and provide a further report in June. However, that doesn’t mean that the proposal is dead for this year. With or without additional information or recommendations, the proposal could still be passed in June, in either a modified or unmodified form. If concerns about the rule’s effect on other sports can’t be resolved, it could also be proposed as a football-only option, although that appears less likely at the moment.

West Virginia is one of many schools with a story to tell about using a player late in the season who was otherwise slated to redshirt due to injuries to others at that position. After sitting out the first 10 games of the 2016 seson, WVU running back Martell Pettaway saw his redshirt lifted due to injuries from players in front of him. While he performed admirably it was only over a three-game stretch at the end of the year.  There wasn’t another realistic option, and while Pettaway professed to being fine with the decision, he also wouldn’t turn down the chance of having the option of that season returned. (There’s also debate about making the rule retroactive for anyone still in college.)

Big 12 coaches, on a recent conference call, were unanimous in their support. Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury focused on players who appear early on but show they aren’t ready to compete yet. Veteran Kansas State coach Bill Snyder was a bit more diplomatic, noting that some different viewpoints are understandable “depending on which chair you sit in,” and voicing support for a simpler five-year eligibility span that wouldn’t limit the “redshirt year” participation to a quarter of the schedule.

WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen has voiced his support for the modified rule throughout the discussion, and his views, buttressed by a less than full scholarship roster and lack of available players at some positions, are shared by many.

Kansas head coach David Beaty sounded the case for football as a different entity that should sometimes be governed by different rules.

“Helping the folks making the decisions understand how physical this game is and how it is different than maybe another game that is in the NCAA and why that rule would be best for kids and best for players [is the next step] he said of the tabling of the proposal,” said Beaty. “Also included in that reasoning is the increased tempo of the game, which requires faster pace between snaps and less recovery time. Those lead to more bodies as the solution – one that factors in player safety as well.”



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    Football Redshirt Rule Tabled But Not Dead For 2018 While several rule changes for college football were passed for the upcoming season, one that had
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    Would like to see the proposed rule pass. The upsides far out weigh the down for everyone concerned.


    I agree that there should be some sort of accommodation for players playing in only a few games. But is 4 the number? Should it be any 4 games? Including Bowl Games? IMO 4 may be too many. If a player and coaching staff can’t evaluate a kid in the first couple or so (3?) games to say he’s ready to play or needs another year of conditioning there is something wrong with the coaching staff. Then again, the injuries that need to be filled at the end of the year are the ones that are not accounted for in coaching projections. Is it 4 games at the end of the year? Including Bowl Games? IMO again the number of 3 games including a bowl just feels right.

    This is good for the players and coaches. 3 games (1/4 of the season) IMO is the number both at the beginning and end of the season. Anything in the middle would cause some concern and let coaches take advantage of the rules.

    Now the proposal for free agency for transfers is a much different animal. Not in favor of this one at all.

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