College football coaches are worried about some of the rule changes they think might be coming to their sport, but they got a big win Wednesday when the NCAA announced a change that, essentially, ends the redshirt season in college football.
College football players can now appear in up to four games without using a season of eligibility, the NCAA ruled.
“All coaches are for that,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said earlier this month at the SEC’s annual spring meetings.
The change means first-year players can get their feet wet in the sport even if coaches are worried they might not be ready to play a full season. If a coach thinks a freshman might be ready, he can try him out for a game or two and know for sure without risking an entire year of eligibility. If a freshman hasn’t played after the 11th game of the season, he might as well see the field to get some experience.
According to the NCAA: "The new exception allows football players to preserve a season of competition if, for example, injuries or other factors result in them competing in a small number of games."
Redshirting already had become less common in college football than in the days when Muschamp was a player at the University of Georgia in the early 90s.
“I needed two years,” he quipped. “I think that’s changed because of the attrition at the top end of your roster for a lot of reasons, guys transferring, guys graduating early, guys going to the NFL. You’re seeing a lot more opportunity for young players to play, so you don’t see as many guys being redshirted. I never make a decision on a redshirt until we get into a season. It may not be Game 1, but he may be better at the position in Game 4 than the guy in front of him. You keep coaching and developing them and see what happens.”