JAHAD WOODS (Cougfan.com/Commons)

Proposed redshirt rules change would have massive effect; players could participate in four games throughout season without losing redshirt

JUST IMAGINE if the Washington State coaches didn't have to debate all last year whether to burn rising linebacker Jahad Woods' redshirt. What if the Cougs could have played Renard Bell the last 3-4 games without him losing his redshirt? If a redshirting freshman had a monstrous performance in bowl game practices, what if WSU could have played him in the bowl game - with his redshirt year still intact?

A proposed rules change regarding redshirts would have allowed for all of the above. It hasn’t gotten a lot of publicity, but it would transform college football. 

The proposal: allow players to participate in up to four games in a season without burning their redshirt year. 

What is key to note here: those four games could come at any time during the season, including a bowl game.

Some of the benefits:
1. Teams beset by injuries would now have a powerful tool at their disposal to lessen the impact.
2. The incentive for redshirting players to get on the field, to "earn it," would last all season.
3. Allowing redshirts on the field for up to four games could prevent injuries by allowing main contributors more rest.
4. The impact of star players skipping their last bowl games would be lessened (especially if a team replaced him with a redshirting freshman considered the next big thing).
5. The need for medical redshirts would significantly diminish.

The American Football Coaches Association unanimously supports it and forwarded the proposal onto the NCAA, Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel wrote this week.  Players would have to be members of the team at the start of the season to be eligible and December enrollees could not come in and immediately suit up for the bowl game.

But the soonest it would happen would be the 2018 season, as Mandel notes the proposal "must go through the NCAA’s exhaustive legislative cycle. First up, the newly formed Division I Football Competition Committee ... at its May 16 meeting. If they’re on board, they forward the proposal to Division I’s Football Oversight Committee. That committee could then formally sponsor legislation to be considered by the larger Division I Council, with the possibility of going up for vote at January's (2018) NCAA convention."

Still, with the AFCA as solidly behind it as they are, there's a good chance it could become reality. And if so, Cougar football and college football would become that much more compelling.

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