Thomas Rawls unable to redshirt?

Submitted by Jedelman11 on December 3rd, 2011 at 4:03 PM

On ESPN's Michigan site there is an article assesing Michigan's RB play this season. It points on some things that "worked" and some that didn't. Specifically it notes that: 

Perhaps it wasn't worth it to burn an entire season for 13 carries.

So that got me thinking...Isn't it possible he could still be eligable for a medical redshirt? I know the rules are a bit wonky (specially since we have to sweat out Gardner's) but a little bit of internet research returned the following:

To receive a medical hardship waiver - in any sport - the injury must limit the student-athlete’s participation to no more than 20 percent of the team’s contests (rounded to the next whole number), with all participation occurring in the first half of the season.

Therefore, for a football player, the maximum number of games that he can play in and still receive a medical hardship waiver is three (20 percent of 11 equals 2.2, which is rounded up to 3), and none of his time on the field can occur after the fifth game (the sixth game of an eleven game season is considered in the second half of the season).

In the case of a 12 game regular season (ie. Michigan 2011), none of the player's time on the field can occur after the sixth game.  The seventh game of a 12 game season is considered in the second half of the season.

Does anyone know if that's accurate? If it is, Rawls was still technically eligible after his 10 carries against Minny (assuming he came down with "an injury"), but it looks like his 1 carry against Purdue is going to cost him a full year of eligibility.

I remember reading somewhere that the staff told Rawls he wouldn't reshirt but was it really worth it for one carry?

Is it possible they played him knowing he'd reshirt next season?

Was he THAT good that the staff needed to get him on the field?

I hold Hoke in incredibly high regard, and I'm certain he didn't just goof, so what's the deal?

Did I miss something?


Buzz Your Girlfriend

December 3rd, 2011 at 4:07 PM ^

I believe he was in the game late vs. Nebraska too but didn't yield a carry. I don't think it is too big of a deal, people here super exaggerate Rawls' abilities. He's a good back, but if we recruit Dunn or Isaac, I don't think he'll get enough playing time for us to be screaming in 3 years that he should have been redshirted.


December 3rd, 2011 at 5:32 PM ^

Agreed. I wonder if these are the same people who are still fretting that RichRod took Austin White instead of Nick Hill (another talented, but not superstar, running back that had many fans here)? They might also be the same people whose impression of Marcus Ray is based solely on that '97 Sports Illustrated cover.

Another comment on Rawls: Unlike Justice Hayes, I'd guess that Thomas is pretty close to his physical ceiling at the college level, if that makes sense. Think Mike Martin (who, admittedly, probably played out of necessity) in '08. If that's the case, and he's ready to contribute (say, on special teams), what's the point of waiting? It's especially true if the staff isn't overly optimistic about his upside. Raymon Taylor (another true frosh special teamer) might be in the same category.


December 3rd, 2011 at 4:12 PM ^

and medically redshirt a kid who's not injured. We're Michigan. I wish his redshirt wasn't burned but he played at a time when the backs weren't doing anything special, the coaches were just looking for something to spark the offense.  

Buzz Your Girlfriend

December 3rd, 2011 at 5:04 PM ^

Your misinterpreting the situation that I'm commenting on. Absolutely nothing wrong with medical redshirts. But people are talking about using them on players who don't really need them. Ex:  Player plays in first 4 games and has a boo-boo so coaches try and get him a medical hardship. Those are for players that cannot perform for the rest of the season, not for those who get early season experience and use a loophole to save their eligibility.


December 3rd, 2011 at 6:52 PM ^

That may be the case, but according to the rules for getting a medical redshirt, the injury the player suffers has to be season-ending. Did Gardner suffer a season-ending injury? All I know is that he dressed for every game or nearly every game (as you pointed out elsewhere in this thread), and Rodriguez publicly declared him the backup QB for the Gator Bowl. Even if he didn't play again after the fourth game, isn't it the case that he could have? And doesn't that mean his injury wasn't season-ending?


December 3rd, 2011 at 4:43 PM ^

Let's not pull Saban and medically redshirt a kid who's not injured.

This practice has been going on since the invention of the medical redshirt. I don't have a problem with it. I think it's crazy that playing one snap in the season opener can cost you a year of eligibility.


December 3rd, 2011 at 9:07 PM ^

You have to put a redshirt on the player to burn said redshirt.



he wasnt so his redshirt isnt burned. Its not maditory to redshirt your freshman year or you dont get to at all (see Stonum).



He could still redshirt in the future if need be


December 3rd, 2011 at 4:53 PM ^

Countess, Morgan, Beyer, etc.   There are still areas of improvement needed on this team and  if the coaches think a freshman can contribute, so be it.  

We'll have at least one RB coming in, along with another FB and I think the only RBs we lose this year are Shaw and McColgan.  

Also you can still  redshirt later - see Stonum.   So,  Rawls could in theory redshirt later if he really needed.


Space Coyote

December 3rd, 2011 at 5:07 PM ^

But Rawls will pretty much be the backup feature back next year, especially if Michigan doesn't bring in Dunn.  Vince Smith is still more of a third down back.  I guess I can't complain that the coaches are looking at next year and thinking if their injury prone feature back goes down they want someone with some game experience (not to mention their third down back also hasn't exactly avoided injury).  

Essentially, I don't mind him getting in the games he did, even if it's just special teams.  It gets the kid experience actually being on the field playing in front of big crowds and will calm his nerves when he steps in the game in the future.

Space Coyote

December 3rd, 2011 at 5:26 PM ^

But I still don't see this really coming back to haunt Michigan.  I probably would have redshirted him, but it's easy to say that without being at practice every day.  Maybe he's doing a great job there.  Or maybe they actually thought he was necessary on special teams.  I still think some experience helps (maybe not as much as at other positions, but still).  Either way, don't think it's going to be too big of a deal in the end.


December 3rd, 2011 at 6:20 PM ^

At the time he got some of his carries I'm not sure the staff knew how Fitz would blow up at the end of the season.  Either way, he got game experience which can only help in the future.  I don't think he was recruited to be the primary back for four years, so if he wins the job after Fitz leaves great.  One or two years as a feature back is enough to showcase guys for the league, if he makes it.


December 3rd, 2011 at 6:41 PM ^

A "medical hardship" (what Saban does) is not the same as a medical redshirt. A medical redshirt just ket's you ignore a few games played for the purposes of eligibility. A medical hardship kicks a guy off the team, but keeps him on scholarship. However, his scholarship doesn't count towards the 85 limit.

A player on medical redshirt gets to play out the remainder of his eligibility, and still counts toward the 85 scholly limit. A hardship (if not needed) is much shadier and much more detrimental to a player's future.


December 3rd, 2011 at 7:01 PM ^

What you said here is largely correct, except you have the terminology wrong. The official term for a medical redshirt is "medical hardship waiver." What you're calling "medical hardships" are actually known as "medical exemptions" (also known as "medical disqualifications" or "medical noncounters").

I just wanted to clarify this because your use of the term "medical hardship" is confusing.