Just a reminder, as we enter the era of the D’Eriq King Rule, that the four-game redshirt rule was something coaches pushed.
The ironic twist here: This is an unintended consequence of a rule that coaches exhaustingly fought to pass for years. The rule was intended to give players, namely freshmen, key experience while not removing a complete year of eligibility, and for coaches, it relieves them from a late-season dilemma of burning a kid’s redshirt while using them only a few plays. Todd Berry, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, was a leader in the movement to modify the redshirt rule. Berry and coaches discussed the measure for years before its adoption, and so far this year, he’s received rave reviews from coaches and administrators. “We knew there were going to be some of these circumstances,” Berry says.
Yeah, that’s right. The funny thing about this now is that despite all the gnashing of teeth by coaches and administrators over recent developments following King’s decision — and let’s not forget that at heart, it was also Dana Holgorsen’s decision — there are still plenty of coaches who see nothing wrong. A couple of selfish reasons for that:
If the first month of the season goes poorly, will coaches manage their roster in a way to gear up for next season and punt on this year? Maybe. “Now that King has done this, I think coaches are going to say, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’” DiNardo, now an analyst for the Big Ten Network, said on the network last week. He offered an example of a senior offensive tackle who struggled through the first month of the season. The tackle could sit the rest of this season and be in better position next year to help the team…
… The Alabama and Ohio States of the world have nothing to worry about, he says, but programs like Houston and Rutgers might not be able to recover from such losses. “If a player did this at Alabama when I was there, Nick [Saban] would say ‘Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,’” McElroy says.
In short, it’s likely to be another vehicle for the rich to become richer. Just like almost everything else that affects college athletics these days.
I keep wondering if shrinking FBS scholarship limits to FCS levels might, if not turn out exactly to be a magic bullet, have some effect on transfers. If Saban’s got less roster spots to manage, it wouldn’t be so easy for him to jump on the fruits of creative redshirting.
Then, again, this may be a problem that sorts itself out over time. It’s not like that hasn’t been the case before.