College football coaches earned a big win on Wednesday.
College football players can play in up to four games in a season without losing a season of eligibility beginning this fall. The Division I Council approved the change, which gives coaches a one-game larger window to decide to redshirt a player.
The change begins this fall for both Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision players. Student-athletes still have only five years to compete in a maximum of four seasons of competition, unless an injury earns them more time. In those cases, the NCAA makes individual judgments after a review process.
"This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being," said council chair Blake James, Miami's athletic director. "Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries. Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition."
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To protect against potential shenanigans, the council included specific legislation to make it clear "that midyear enrollees who participate in postseason football competition that occurs before or during the student-athlete's first term at a school cannot use the exception," according to the NCAA.
The Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee will examine how a similar concept could be applied to other sports, including what number of games would be appropriate. In its review, the committee will consult with the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.