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A redshirt freshman is a player who sits out their first year of attendance at a college. In NCAA rules you can only play four years. So if a team has a position already filled a player will redshirt for a year in order to maintain the full four years of eligibility for when the position opens up. When a player redshirts they are able to practice with the team and even play a minimal number of plays during the season.

Before the 1980's, student-athletes had only four years of eligibility in which to compete for four seasons unless he or she were injured early on during a season {say before midpoint of a season}. At that time, under then NCAA rules, the player could petition for and be granted an additional year of eligibility.

Fortunately for the athletes, most were so granted the extra year to fully-recover and compete for four complete years. Unfortunately, some coaches used this ruling to get a freshman prospect with minor 'injury' during pre-season, list them as 'lost-for-season', rehab them yet never let them compete during freshman year. Some coaches were essentially 'warehousing' or sitting them out for a year to have them learn a system, develop physical size & skills, then play four full years after developing those additional sizes, strengths & valuable knowledge of their systems.

1. Eventually NCAA leadership became wiser, and extended 'red-shirting' to all incoming freshman. Teams could openly elect to red-shirt players at the team's own discretion, generally to the player's own personal benefit. This has no requirement of nor consideration for an injury to be sustained. Simply put, "We do not need John's play this year, so red-shirt him, develop his quickness & agility to match his size & strength ...."

2. Second means for 'red-shirting' was the academic ineligibility, or as under Prop-48 in which a scholarship could be reserved but the athlete could not compete until earning a 'C' or better in a minimum core curriculum. Hence, a red-shirt freshmen is a sophomore in age & classes, but could still compete four more years, including as a freshman after not competing during the first year of participation.

3. Third method or reason is an interscholastic transfer. That is, anytime a student-athlete transfers from one institution to another, he/she may participate in drills, practices & meetings, but may not compete on the field during a 'red-shirt' season, their first year at the new institution. It is essentially a 'transfer penalty' against moving between programs.

4. Last, a red-shirt is granted as for originally-intended injury purposes, as summarized above. Say a running back is seriously injured and misses 7, 8, 9, 10 or even 11 games during ANY of his four eligibility seasons. He can then petition NCAA as an injured player to have an additional season tacked-on for his eligibility.

In every case, a student still only has five years on a roster to compete four years on the field, court, track, course or diamond. Only one red-shirt year is ever granted per athlete - everyone still has only five years to compete for four.
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โˆ™ 2014-02-27 21:31:29
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Q: What does it mean to redshirt?
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