When Asa Martin came in for one kick return and one carry in the Mississippi State game, his chance to redshirt the 2018 season was officially burned.
It was the fifth game Martin, a freshman, played in — though members of the Auburn coaching staff were unaware of that when Martin was sent into the game, according to Martin’s mother, Sharay Harris, in an interview with.
She said Auburn coaches talked to her and Martin’s father, Rakesk Martin, about redshirting their son, after the Mississippi State game — even though she’d made it known to Auburn’s offensive coordinator before that game that another appearance would use up his freshman eligibility.
The NCAA’s new redshirt policy allows student-athletes to compete in up to four football games in a given season without losing a year of eligibility. Once they’ve entered a fifth game, that year of eligibility has been used.
Auburn coaches seemingly thought the Mississippi State game was Martin’s fourth appearance, thus preserving his option to redshirt this season and preserve his eligibility. The fact was they were wrong.
“I had already reached out to the coaching staff to question about his redshirt before he played in the Mississippi State game, because I knew he had already played four games,” Harris said.
… After Martin’s play was limited in that MSU game, Harris said she had another conversation with a member of Auburn’s coaching staff.
“After the Mississippi State game is when another assistant coach said that he wanted to redshirt Asa,” Harris said. “At this point, he had played five games.”
“… I’m just blown away, because Asa and I and his dad already knew that Asa’s redshirt had already been burned in the Mississippi State game.”
Harris wouldn’t say which assistant coach spoke to her about that. She did say that an Auburn offensive assistant coach spoke to Rakesk Martin after the Tennessee game one week later, and Rakesk made that coach realize the redshirt was burned.
“We, his parents, made them see after they burned it that they had already burned it,” Harris said. “They still wasn’t like — they didn’t acknowledge the fact that they had burned it. It was like they didn’t know. Like what do you mean you don’t know?”
I had no idea Reggie Ball was working at Auburn.
And here’s the part you can expect to be revisited on the recruiting trail.
There are questions that Harris still wants to have answered. She said she has received responses to her correspondences with coaches, but nothing that answers her how this mistake happened.
“That made me realize that they didn’t have his best interest at heart,” Harris said. “That’s what it made me realize because there’s no way, again, at a D1 college that every stat, every play for play, every time you even take a snap that it’s not recorded.”
She said Martin, her son, has been “frustrated throughout this whole season” with how this has been handled. She’s concerned about other kids — especially ones without a strong support system — who could have this situation repeated with them.
“I don’t know if this could hurt Asa or help him,” Harris said. “But I feel some type of way because Asa has a support system. What about the kids that doesn’t have a support system? And you, like, to mislead these kids, I feel like it’s so wrong and somebody has to take a stand and speak up for them. I don’t wanna hurt my son in any type of way, but at the same time, it’s not OK to mislead these kids.”
If mama ain’t happy…
Martin isn’t looking to transfer despite the mishap, according to his mother.
“That’s not the conversation,” Harris said about transferring. “The conversation is, I just wanna know the basic question about this whole redshirt situation, and how they’re going forward with not just Asa but with other players.”
This is why she decided to put her complaint on the record, for everyone to know about.
“Nobody is acknowledging it,” Harris said. “Nobody is taking the blame for it. And nobody is acting like it ever existed.”
You know the punchline already, right? Martin got off the Gus Bus at the next stop.