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.
Redshirting can be a good thing for athletes, so lets shed a positive light on it because it can help players maximize their collegiate experiences.
Three benefits redshirting:
- Get settled on campus:Redshirting can offer you one more year to enjoy the college experience thoroughly. There are so many opportunities on campus that you can take advantage of clubs, gatherings, and meeting new people. Once your sport starts, you will be with your team for the most part, so it's good to create bonds with people outside of your athletic circle.
- A fifth-year:Redshirting provides an opportunity to explore master's programs. Redshirting opens up that fifth year of a scholarship to maximize potential in the classroom.
- A chance to mature: Most athletes take advantage of redshirting for this reason. You will have the time to dive into the playbook, get bigger, stronger, and mature mentally.
An athlete may also 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 three competitions, before an injury.
A 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 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. You are expected to participate in practices, team meetings, study hall, etc. There is no such thing as “taking it easy” when you redshirt. 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/
* Originally published on December 18, 2017, by Keirsten Sires