Tag Archive for: NCAA Redshirt Rules

With spring sports such as baseball, softball, lacrosse and track starting soon, this is a good time to review the rules if your athlete is considering a redshirt season.

NCAA Division I and II

If an athlete enters a contest (at the varsity or JV level), even if only for one or two minutes or for one or two plays, that athlete will be using one of their four seasons of college eligibility.

Once that happens, their only opportunity to get this season “over again” will be if they suffer a season-ending injury or illness before the midpoint of the season and have not exceeded the limit on the number of games played or dates of competition for their sport.

NCAA Division III

To redshirt at the NCAA Division III level, the athlete must completely remove themselves from the team before the first game or contest of the season. The D3 rules charge a “season of participation” if an athlete is practicing with their team once the season begins, even if the athlete never appears in a game for their team during the season.


Same as NCAA Division I and II


The NAIA only charges an athlete with a season of competition if the athlete appears in more than 20 percent of the maximum number of contests or dates of competition in their sport. However, any participation in NAIA-approved postseason will count as a season used.

Do you have questions about redshirting or a medical redshirt?

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consult, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

I’ve had several separate inquiries within the past two weeks in which an athlete or parent asked about “opting out” this Spring to preserve the athlete’s redshirt season in their sport.

These athletes/parents wanted to know if they could simply choose to tell their coach that they wanted to opt out from their current season to preserve a redshirt year and to also protect their scholarship.

While it was possible two years ago for an athlete to opt out, that is not the case anymore.

If an athlete is hoping to preserve their current season as a redshirt season, they will need to talk with their coach to determine if he/she will allow them to redshirt.

Before talking to your coach, consider this:

In most sports, NCAA Division I and II student-athletes who participate in a contest for just one minute, one play or one match or set, will trigger the use of one of their four seasons of competition.

In addition, student-athletes thinking about redshirting should think carefully about whether they want to bring up the topic with their coach. That can be a difficult decision to make.

  • On the one hand, if an athlete doesn’t bring up the topic of redshirting with their coach and then end the season having only participated in very limited minutes, innings or other amount of competition, they may regret the decision to not bring it up.
  • On the other hand, some coaches might become angry at an athlete’s request to redshirt and end up removing the athlete from the team completely.

If you’re interested in a confidential consultation about the possibility of redshirting and the potential impact on your scholarship and future eligibility, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consultation online, or by calling 913-766-1235.

We’ve been having a lot of parents ask us about “this rule that we’ve heard about” which would permit their athlete to appear in up to four games and still be able to claim a redshirt season in their sport.

The “Four Game Rule” that these parents are referring to only applies to the sport of football at the NCAA Division I level.

In every other sport, participation during any portion of a game, meet, or match during the regular season will trigger the use of one of an athlete’s four seasons of competition.

Do you need help understanding or navigating the rules?

If you have any questions about the “Four Game Rule” or any other eligibility issues that affect your student-athlete, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consult online or contact us at 913-766-1235 or via email to rick@informedathlete.com.”

Spring-sport athletes (and their parents) on Division III teams should keep in mind that the “redshirt” rule is quite different for Division III than it is for NCAA Division I and II athletes.

NCAA Division I and II athletes can practice with their team all the way through the end of the season, and as long as they do not appear in an actual game representing their university against another team, that will be considered a “redshirt” year for that athlete because they didn’t compete against another team.

However, NCAA Division III athletes will use one of their four “seasons of participation” if they practice with their team after the first game of the season – even if they never appear in an actual game against another team.

This happened to a client of ours last year.  The athlete’s father contacted us to ask about his son’s redshirt season because he had left the team after just one week of the season.  However, since he had practiced with the team after the start of the season, he was still charged with a “season of participation” for that season, and had three seasons remaining rather than the four that the father thought he had.
For a consultation regarding the redshirt rules and guidelines, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.