Redshirts and Medical Redshirts

Submitted by James Burrill Angell on August 21st, 2013 at 10:06 AM
So with the injury to Darboh I was wondering if someone on the board who is more knowledgable in these matters knows about Redshirts. Can someone who played as a true freshman (like Darboh) or who played multiple years, take their redshirt or a medical redshirt in a year that wasn't their first year on campus?



August 21st, 2013 at 11:45 AM ^

Just to confirm this with the supporting legislation (or as close as I could get to it), Bylaw essentially says that, to get a waiver of the Five Year Rule, it has to be due to circumstances which are beyond the control of the student athlete. It basically lists injury to the athlete or life-threatening injury someone in their immediate family, natural disaster, financial hardship or "erroneous academic advice" (i.e., an academic snafu that is the fault of the institution) as about the only valid reasons, assuming this is close to comprehensive. 

Space Coyote

August 21st, 2013 at 10:52 AM ^

First redshirt also needs to be medical in nature to get 6 years of eligibility. This is why Bellomy can't simply get a medical redshirt this year, because his redshirt his freshman year was not due to injury (same would go for Ryan if you wasn't beasting up and coming back this year).

Ali G Bomaye

August 21st, 2013 at 11:35 AM ^

I wonder what documentation is needed to prove that the first redshirt was "medical in nature."  How does the NCAA know that Bellomy's first redshirt year wasn't due to a sore back or a hangnail, rather than the fact that Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner were ahead of him?  It's up to the school and the player to determine whether a given injury is too serious to suit up.

If I remember correctly, Gardner applied for his medical redshirt for the 2010 season well after the fact, so why couldn't Bellomy do the same?  And on a more cynical note, wouldn't it make sense for a school to document injury treatments for all their redshirting freshmen, just in case this situation comes up?


August 21st, 2013 at 10:16 AM ^

A redshirt isn't anything special, it's just not playing for a year.  You have 5 years to play 4, so you can take it whenever.  The only special case is the medical redshirt where if you have a season ending injury before 1/3(not possitive on the number) of the season is done you can get a redshirt.


August 21st, 2013 at 10:16 AM ^

My understanding is that neither Countess not Darboh will get a 'medical redshirt'. They'll just get a plain 'ol redshirt. The medical RS comes into play if either Countess or Darboh want an 'additional' RS year for a different injury. Since both missed seasons for an injury, if they miss another year, that would be the medical RS year. The same reason why Ryan would not be able to get a medical RS year; his first RS year was not due to injury.


August 21st, 2013 at 10:30 AM ^

No, you have 5 years to play your 4 years of eligability.  The NCAA does not care why you sat out that one year; it just doesn't matter.  But if you want an extra year, a 6th year, due to injuries, that's when you get a medical redshirt.


August 21st, 2013 at 10:18 AM ^

That's what "redshirt" means- exercising the option to take five years to use up eligibility. Medical redshirts have to be approved by the conference and can extend the rule to six years to play for in some circumstances.


August 21st, 2013 at 10:41 AM ^

Is that the case with Chris Bryant?  He redshirted his first year and then was injured for his entire second year.  That means he should be eligible for a medical redshirt but I haven't seen any mention of that. 

If he gets that, it's very possible that Michigan's OL will be comprised completely Freshman and Sophomores next year.  Braden (RS), Bryant (Medical RS) Kugler (RF) Kalis (RS) Magnuson (RS)......or something along those lines.  I'm sure that others will be in the mix.


August 21st, 2013 at 11:40 AM ^

In order to get the second redshirt year (medical), the first redshirt or missed season has to be due to a medical condition that prohibitted playing.  


So, not playing a year (redshirt) and then getting hurt the next and not being able to play would tyipcally not be allowable for a 6th year.


August 21st, 2013 at 10:35 AM ^

1.  You get 5 years to play 4 seasons.  NCAA Bylaw 14.2.  If you choose to spend a year where you do not participate in a game, that uses one of your years, but not a season of competition.  Nothing in Bylaw 14.2 requires that the redshirt year be the freshman year.  Since Darboh played last year, he can still take this year as his redshirt year.

2.  If you suffer an injury or some other circumstance beyond your control that makes it impossible to play 4 seasons in 5 years, you can seek a 6th year.  Bylaw  However, this does not give you a 6th year if you voluntarily redshirt as a freshman and then break your arm the following year, because the redshirt year was within your control.  This commonly applies where a serious injury takes more than a year to recover.  This waiver seeks a waiver of the 5 year rule.

3.  If you have played in a season but get hurt early on (less than 3 contests or 30 percent of the regular season, whichever is greater) and the injury prevents you from playing the rest of the year, you can get a hardship waiver that says that year doesn't count as a season of competition.  Bylaw 14.2.4.  (The 30 percent computation for football is 12 * .3 = 3.6, which gets rounded up to 4 under Bylaw  Note that if you have previously redshirted, getting this waiver doesn't do you any good, because you will use up your 5 years before you use up your 4 seasons of competition.


If you want to read about it yourself, the NCAA Division 1 manual is available for free download here:




August 21st, 2013 at 10:34 AM ^

There's a fundamental difference, though. Gardner played in some games his first year. Darboh won't play at all this season.

Could be that Darboh applies for a medical redshirt (as Justin suggests above) or he could just take a regular redshirt because he won't see the field at all (as I suggest above). Gardner didn't have the option, as far as I understand the rules, to just take a regular redshirt season.


August 21st, 2013 at 10:41 AM ^

Because all it does is give a player back a season of competition that they would otherwise lose because they played.  Darboh won't play this year, so there is no season of competition to waive.  If his injury takes more than a year to recover from, he could seek a 6th year because he didn't redshirt last year.

Remember there are two limits on a player's eligibility:  he gets 5 total years, and 4 seasons of competition.  The so-called medical redshirt (or hardship waiver) gives you back a season of competition when you play but get hurt but it won't give you a 6th year unless you also meet the criteria for that waiver.


August 21st, 2013 at 11:01 AM ^

then yes, it could be due to 2 separate injuries.  It could also conceivably be because family reasons forced the player to drop out of school for a year.  But it can't be because the player chose to redshirt without there being any medical reasons behind it.  For example, if you suffer an injury in high school and redshirt as a freshman in order to fully recover, then if you miss another season later on due to injury, you could get a sixth year, because the redshirt wasn't truly voluntary. 

Mr. Yost

August 21st, 2013 at 11:15 AM ^

He redshirts this year...if he got hurt again down the road causing him to miss the season, he'd get a medical redshirt for a 6th year.


If he just got in trouble down the road and wanted to do the Stonum/Hagerup "I'll use my redshirt as a senior" route, it would NOT be available.

Just don't get hurt again, give us 2 BEAST years, and go to the NFL as a RS Junior.


August 21st, 2013 at 11:24 AM ^

But other people in the thread (e.g., Seth) are saying that Darboh wouldn't be able to get a 6th year in the event of another injury if this coming season's redshirt is considered a regular voluntary redshirt. Wouldn't it have to be somehow labeled medically-related?

This might sound nit picky, but it is the NCAA we're talking about. They aren't exactly known for using common sense over bureaucratic rigidity.