Many athletes at BYU go on missions, sustain injuries or miss large portions of their athletic seasons for other reasons. It’s also not uncommon for an athlete to come home from a mission in the middle of a season or right before it starts.
The NCAA has changed some of its rules this month, and one of the big changes applies to the football redshirt rules. From now on, a player will be permitted to play up to four games in a season and still redshirt.
Every player is allowed four years of playing eligibility over the span of five calendar years. The year a player can redshirt can fall anywhere within this period.
Before the new rule, if an athlete stepped on the field, one of his or her four years of playing was burned. This rule prevented many teams from playing young athletes due to the loss of eligibility.
With the new rule, a player will not lose a year of eligibility if an injury occurs before four games of play. This rule opens the door for freshman athletes to play in their first season. Teams can now test out a player without losing one of their years of eligibility.
The new rule will only apply to football, but there is a possibility of the rule moving to different sports in the future.
The rule has a drastic effect on many scenarios in football, especially for BYU Football. Starters will not feel as much pressure to play through early-season injuries; they will be able to sit out, nurse the injury and prep for the upcoming season.
Athletes that receive injuries in camp can come back later in the season and play a few games after recovering from an injury. Because the new rule is not limited to the first four games of a season, the four games of eligibility can be played anywhere in the schedule.
The NCAA Division One Council believes the rule will have very positive effects for players and coaches. The only caveat to the rule applies when an athlete plays in a postseason game. Depending on the situation, that circumstance could possibly make the new rule void.
Another change was also made to Division One football transfers. This new rule, if adopted by a school or conference, allows an athlete to notify their university of a transfer rather than look for permission to transfer.
Conferences currently have the ability to adopt the transfer rule if they please; however, it is not required that they do so. It also allows schools to broaden their recruiting efforts.
Past athletes have not been able to receive scholarships upon arriving at their new schools after a transfer. Schools can also give scholarships to new transfer athletes.
All the new rules could potentially have effects on BYU Football. Coach Kalani Sitake talked with reporters at a charity golf event and discussed his feelings on the new rule. Sitake told reporters the redshirt rule will be a “huge benefit” to the team.
“I think that it is good for a young kid during his redshirt year to get an opportunity to be on the field and experience four games,” Sitake said.
Sitake also said this new rule will help return missionaries. He explained in the past it would have been great to have recently returned missionaries preparing through the season and then seeing the field at the end of the season.
With the current QB race at BYU, players like Zach Wilson and Jaren Hall will potentially be able to be tested out without losing eligibility.
BYU may also receive more transfers with the new transfer guidelines. Sitake has not said whether the team will adopt the rule.
The new transfer rules are still in legislation and may go into effect this season. The redshirt rule goes into effect this coming season.
These new rules give more freedom to players and coaches. They give them the opportunity to be creative and apply more scheme in their lineups and rosters, and they have the potential to make a big impact in the future.