Redshirting allows injured or academically struggling college athletes to sit out one year of competitive play while still retaining four years of eligibility. The term’s origin is unclear, but the concept has been around for decades. Redshirted players can still participate in team activities but cannot compete. The exception can only be used for one academic year in most cases.
Nearly all sports-related college scholarships limit a student to four full years of eligibility for the game. However, there is an exception to this rule called redshirting. An injured or academically struggling player can choose not to participate in competitive play for one year, which still allows them to participate for the full four years of eligibility. This player is called a redshirt, even though he may wear the standard uniform and sit with the team during games or matches.
The origin of the term redshirt appears to be a missing piece of college sports lore, but the concept has been around for decades. In a real-world scenario, a promising high school recruit may be injured before enrolling in college or disabled in early practice. If this player spends even one minute on the field during a sanctioned competition, he will lose an entire year of eligibility. The coach can ask this player to become a red jersey for the first academic year. This would allow the player to return as a sophomore, although in terms of scholarship, he would be considered a redshirt freshman.
Another reason a player on a scholarship might choose to become a redshirt is academic progress. Fitting a full college resume on top of the responsibilities of an athlete can be challenging for some players. One way to relieve stress is to become a redshirt for an academic year. Once the student has had sufficient time to sustain his or her performance in class, returning to the team the following year may not be as stressful.
An athlete in the red jersey is not restricted by the peripheral activities of the team. He can still participate in training sessions, team meetings and workouts, but cannot participate competitively. In the event of a serious injury, a red-shirted player would most likely spend much of her free time in a supervised rehabilitation centre. A doctor may need to clear you for the next playing season before you are allowed to dress again. Instructors can also put a redshirt player on academic probation if his grades fall below a set minimum.
The redshirt exception to scholarship eligibility can only be used for one academic year in most cases.