American Football Coaches Association wants to allow players up to four games without losing redshirt status


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A proposal that would allow players to appear in up to four games without losing their redshirt status received “unanimous support at all levels” during this week’s American Football Coaches Association convention, director Todd Berry said Wednesday.

“Current rules say that, barring medical reasons, any game appearance during the season would cost a player a year of eligibility.”

Several leagues, including the ACC, have put forward proposals after the idea received widespread support from coaches last year, and Berry said the prospects for NCAA passage of the rule could happen as soon as April.

Berry was asked what potential opposition to the proposal there may be, and signaled he expected little.

“This needs to pass,” he said. “I don’t know that there is [a counterargument].”

Berry cited the fact that scholarship limits have been reduced and the schedule has expanded since redshirt rules were first adopted, putting schools in potentially problematic situations late in seasons when injuries have thinned out a position group and coaches are forced to pull a player’s redshirt for just a game or two. He also said that data suggests players struggle more academically and emotionally during a redshirt season, and the prospects of late-season playing time could have a positive impact.

“Emotionally it’s the most difficult, academically it’s the most difficult, because you don’t feel like you’re included on the team, and you’ve been a part of this all your life,” Berry said.

The proposal will be presented to the NCAA later this month, and if it is allowed to proceed from there, it could be adopted by a vote in April, making the new rule effective for the upcoming season.

Berry said there was some discussion of making the rule retroactive as well, though the current ACC proposal does not include that caveat.

In addition to the potential changes to redshirting rules, coaches also discussed revisiting the penalties, including ejections, for targeting, reducing the number of days available for unofficial visits for recruits in the spring, extending the window for preseason practices and the potential for transfers to move schools without sitting out, an idea which received little support from coaches.

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