With the college football season now complete, the coaches have gathered for the annual American Football Coaches Association meetings. Paul Myerberg of USA Today highlights their recommendations, but one in particular could lead to interesting strategies.
Coaches approved a change to the redshirt process, which would eliminate the medical redshirt, but would allow any player the opportunity to play in four or fewer games while retaining that year of eligibility. What could that mean for the Syracuse Orange?
Well it does provide some interesting scenarios in how the rule can be utilized. A program could allow freshmen to get some reps in games against a FCS opponent, or in blowout situations. It could also allow a team which has been eliminated from bowl consideration to insert some players late in the year to help their development without repercussion toward eligibility. You could also see a circumstance where a top program would use the rule to manage their roster in a way to keep players fresher for the end of the year.
I think we might see a bit more clarification added before this becomes a rule, such as “can the games played be non-consecutive?” But this is certainly a step in the right direction. Allowing this could benefit student-athlete welfare as coaches wouldn’t have to decide between asking a player to dress while injured or burning a redshirt.
I’m sure this isn’t the real intention of the recommendation, but it’s certainly a benefit to athletes. We’ve seen what injuries have done to the Syracuse team in the last couple of seasons. Being able to give players the opportunity to play the last couple of games would have certainly helped.
Of course, I think this idea could be expanded even further. I would still like to see all athletes granted five years of eligibility, which would improve the academic success of the athletes while also helping to level the playing field. Great players are going to leave after three years, but allowing schools to develop and retain solid players for a fifth year could help them close the talent gap (if that’s what schools really want to do). Still all in all, this is a positive step and could be a nice way for Syracuse fans to get a glimpse of a player like Tommy DeVito in action right away.
The recommendations now move to the NCAA Football Oversight Committee, which meets next week. We’ll follow the process and keep you updated.