Kevin Goheen/Land of 10
Quarterback Dylan McCaffrey redshirted last season as a freshman. A new NCAA rule will allow players to play in up to four games and still retain the redshirt option.

New NCAA redshirt rule is a win for Michigan players, coaches

Kevin Goheen

During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Wolverines answer questions on the minds of Michigan fans. Submit a question or suggest a topic by sending a tweet here to Rachel Lenzi or here to Kevin Goheen. Check back Monday through Friday as we answer the Michigan Question of the Day. Go here to see our previous answers.

How do the coaches view the new redshirt rule regarding freshmen? — Dorian Adams via Facebook

The NCAA Division I Council passed a rule change proposal Wednesday allowing football players to participate in up to four games in a season and still retain their redshirt option.

That’s a win for players and coaches at Michigan and every other college team in the country.

The new rule goes into effect this season but is not retroactive. It is for all players, not just freshmen. Players have five years to use up four years of eligibility, but in the past a player used a season of eligibility as soon as he played one snap. An exception was made for injured players who participated in no more than four games. Wide receiver Tarik Black is eligible for a medical redshirt season since he played in only three games last season as a freshman before fracturing his left foot.

Imagine if the rule had been in place last season. Quarterback Dylan McCaffrey was praised for his work running the scout team offense but never got on the field in a game because coach Jim Harbaugh and staff didn’t want to burn his redshirt year for an end-of-game experience. As troubled as the Wolverines were at quarterback last season, McCaffrey would have been an option later in the season under this rule.

Wide receiver Nico Collins played in four games. Tackle Andrew Stueber played special teams against Florida in the opener but that was it for the rest of the season. They both used up their first season of eligibility.

Coaches previously had to weigh decisions of whether to get a player experience or reward him for good practice performances with losing the redshirt year. That problem has been eliminated now. The development of the player will be improved as will the coaches’ ability to evaluate the player.

This is a good rule change, one college coaches have argued in favor of for many years. They got their wish.

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