DESTIN, Fla. — Count the SEC and its coaches among those intrigued by the idea of modifying the redshirt rule in college football.
The American Football Coaches Association proposed letting players preserve their redshirt as long as they play four games or fewer. Currently, a player burns a redshirt if he plays a single snap, unless he is injured during the first four games of the season.
The coaches group proposal would essentially adopt the medical redshirt rule for all redshirts, whether or no they were injured.
It was discussed at this week’s SEC meetings and coaches are “positively inclined” to the idea, according to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.
“I think we all have to learn more,” Sankey said. The feedback this week was positive, with still any number of question marks around the idea.”
Sankey said there are also questions about the proposal, but he didn’t specify them. As for how soon it could be adopted and put into effect, Sankey said he didn’t have a timeline, other than guessing that the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee will review it.
SEC coaches who have been asked about it publicly have expressed approval. On the SEC teleconference last month, Tennessee coach Butch Jones said it would be one way to see if freshmen are ready to play an entire season without burning their redshirt. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said it could help young players later in the season, when they presumably would be in better shape.
Said Alabama coach Nick Saban: “With the numbers that we have right now and the number of games that we’re playing, you might be able to play a few more players in some of those games, and that would help some of the other players on your team.”