Last month, the NCAA Division 1 Council agreed to a proposal to revamp College Football’s ill-considered redshirt policy.
Division 1 Athletes have four seasons of eligibility over five seasons of play. Before the June Announcement, players exhausted a year of eligibility simply by playing a single snap in a season. Thanks to the new guidelines, players will be afforded four games of play in a redshirted season.
The effects of this new protocol will become active in the forthcoming 2018-19 season, and will not be allowed to be applied retroactively.
The NCAA’s decision is widely popular, as many considered the previous rules antiquated and unnecessarily harsh on players. Blake James, University of Miami Athletic Director and NCAA Division 1 Council Chair, described the windfall this new ruling will be for players and coaches.
Football: Quarterback recruit Graham Mertz prepares to ‘bring a natty’ to MadisonIn a Tweet Thursday, four star quarterback recruit Graham Mertz confirmed his commitment to Wisconsin. Clear mind… #OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/ZihIQ9ri9G — Read…
“This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being. Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries,” James said. “Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in the limited competition.”
As for how this will affect the Wisconsin football team, much of the apparent ripples will come into focus midway through the season as the roster shapes up and weaknesses and injuries become clear.
One thing that is clear, however, is that Coach Paul Chryst will be able to get creative with the Badger’s quarterback room. Starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook still has two years of eligibility left and as of now remains the heavy favorite to maintain the number one slot in the depth chart. Behind him is Jack Coan, a rising sophomore who has yet to use his redshirt, rising redshirt freshman Danny Vanden Boom and incoming true freshman Chase Wolf.
This young group will provide some roster flexibility. It’s possible Chryst may be interested in squeezing an additional year of play out of Coan, and in order to do so, it would make the most sense to redshirt him this year. He would still be able to get reps in keeping with the new ruling, and it would allow Vanden Boom to get his feet wet.
The new redshirt eligibility will also be important down the stretch for Wisconsin. In football, with injuries always abound and these new guidelines, Chryst will face less impediment as he looks to plug holes in the roster.
Additionally, players that make unexpected, marked improvement during their redshirt season will be able to contribute to a late-season push without endangering their eligibility.