Going to College Archive

What does it mean to Redshirt?

Redshirting can be a very positive and productive experience

Some of you may have heard of college student- athletes “redshirting” during their respective college careers. Redshirting describes a student-athlete who does not represent his/her school in intercollegiate competition in his/her respective sport for an entire academic year of college. The NCAA defines “competition” as participation against outside competition (another team(s) from another college(s)). The redshirt designation indicates that a student- athlete has not exhausted a season of eligibility as defined by NCAA rules. It is important to note that during a redshirt year a student-athlete IS allowed to participate in all practices, intrasquad qualifiers/matches, workouts, team meetings, and training sessions.

Per NCAA rules, each student-athlete has five years, from the time of his or her initial full- time enrollment in college, to compete in four years of athletic competition. The NCAA rules also state that any intercollegiate competition, regardless of the duration, shall count as one season of competition in that sport. For example, if a college golfer played one 18-hole round of intercollegiate competition, he/she would be charged with one of his/her four years of eligibility.

Occasionally a student-athlete will elect to redshirt during his/her initial year of college to adjust to the demands of being a student- athlete. In these instances, coaches will support the student-athlete realizing he/she would benefit from an additional year of development prior to participating in intercollegiate competition. Additionally, a redshirt year provides student-athletes the opportunity to spread their academic workload over a five-year period and establish a strong academic foundation from the beginning. The decision to redshirt is a collaborative decision made by the student-athlete, his/her parents, and the college coach.

Compared to other college sports, golfers miss a significant amount of class time, upwards of 8 to 10 days per semester. Freshman student- athletes therefore must learn how to balance their time between practice, academics, competition, and their social lives as quickly as possible. Redshirting eliminates the competition component and allows student- athletes an opportunity to assimilate to their new environment and culture. Redshirting may take place at anytime throughout a student- athlete’s college career and is not limited to freshman only. A redshirt year is a very important time in a player’s development and should be viewed as an opportunity to get ahead in school, improve your fitness level, advance your golf game, and create an efficient time management system that balances the demands a college student-athlete faces.

Redshirting can also be utilized when a student- athlete gets injured prior to the season and the prospects of competing for the majority of the season are limited. A player who suffers a mid-season injury can apply for a medical redshirt season. Injured players who opt to redshirt can then rehabilitate their injuries while preserving their NCAA maximum seasons of eligibility.

Redshirting can be a beneficial and positive experience if used effectively and will be a decision that is determined once you get to college. The student-athlete, his/her parents, and the college coach will assess the best path to make his/her college career the most successful.

Ted Gleason

Road to College Golf


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