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A Better Way to Redshirt

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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The thinking behind the rule has plenty of meritable aspects. It could serve to undergo some minor improvements, but four games is simply too far. That's equivalent to a third of the regular season -- unjustifiable.

A rule change has been proposed to the NCAA that would allow football players to compete in up to four games whilst maintaining their redshirt status.

At that point, why even have a redshirt?

The thinking behind the rule has plenty of meritable aspects. It could serve to undergo some minor improvements, but four games is simply too far. That's equivalent to a third of the regular season -- unjustifiable.

The better solution is to allow all athletes to participate in bowl games, without vacating redshirt eligibility.

Some of the biggest headlines of the 2016 postseason were the discussion surrounding star players choosing to sit out of their respective teams' bowl games in preparation for the NFL Combine and eventual draft.

Allowing players that hadn't played all season an opportunity to participate in bowl games would mitigate some of the negative response from other players choosing to forego that opportunity.

Furthermore, it could help to lend some waning legitimacy to one of college football's great traditions -- as a bit of an up and comer's showcase, if you will.

It would serve as extra motivation to players that aren't ready to contribute right away. If they work hard enough on the practice field and in the weight room, they could see the field in the postseason, without burning a year of eligibility.

Plus, if it is limited to just bowl games, as opposed to the current four game proposal, there would be no calculated influence on championship races, which would otherwise be a near certainty.

As currently constituted, coaches have to earn those paychecks with the calculus of their decision making. Hugh Freeze opting to burn Shea Patterson's redshirt after losing Chad Kelly to injury is a prime example of this. Had the four game rule been in place, it wouldn't have even been a conversation.

The history and strategic utilization, or non-utilization, of the redshirt deserves to be preserved. Extending the parameters to four games does not do that.

However, if redshirts were allowed to play in bowl games only, it's the best of both worlds.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP