Red Shirting and the Medical Hardship Waivers are not automatic.
We hear the term redshirt all the time. Watching college football on Saturdays, you often hear the broadcasters talk about redshirt players. But what does redshirt mean? Does it matter beyond football? To redshirt means to sit out of competition a year. During the redshirt year, you are able to practice, but not compete.
If you enter a competition for even one second, your redshirt disappears. When you enter college and begin practicing with a team, you have an athletic clock that begins to tick. From that point, you have four years of eligibility, total, in which you can actually compete.
You have 10 semesters five years to complete these four years. The bigger and better the program, the more likely that there will be athletes on that team who redshirt as freshmen.
If a coach decides to redshirt you, you practice with the team like everyone else, but you are not allowed to take part in any competitions.
If a player sustains an injury and is unable to compete for a season they will redshirt. If granted, the athlete rehabs and possibly begins to practice with the team, but may not enter into any competitions during that year.
Injuries that occur in the first few games of the season, may still allow an athlete to get a medical redshirt for that year. If this happens to you, the athletic trainer at your institution will walk you through the process and most likely take care of the process of applying for a medical red shirt.
A redshirt can only help expand your years to compete by one. Remember, your ten semester clock began when you entered college and came out for the first day of practice. After ten semesters, if you have only played two years, that is all you get. There are no exceptions other than the one year redshirt. Even if a player is red shirted, they can still practice with the team and are still eligible to receive any scholarships they would if they were playing in games.
There are two types of red shirting, medical and non-medical. A medical red shirt is when a player is injured and qualifies for a Medical Hardship Waiver. The Medical Hardship Waiver allows players an additional season of competition during the five-year period of eligibility.
Red Shirting and the Medical Hardship Waivers are not automatic. Therefore, players should consult with their coach and athletic trainer to get it approved by the NCAA. Non-medical red shirting can be for freshmen who are sometimes red shirted to allow them time to get familiar with a team and improve their game. Another reason to red shirt is if a player does not plan on staying at the college they are currently enrolled in.
If a player plays for a school and then transfers to another school at the same or lower division, then the player is forced to sit out a year. A third reason for a red shirt is if a player went to study abroad in another country, they can red shirt and be able to play for four seasons in the U.
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