Count Jim Harbaugh among the fans of college football’s new redshirt rule.
Speaking on the latest edition of his podcast, “Attack Each Day,” the Michigan head coach called the new redshirt policy — announced in mid June — “a good rule.”
“That’s really player friendly, student-athlete friendly,” Harbaugh said. “The rule had been that you could play in four games and still be redshirted, but they had to be within four of the first six games and there had to be an injury (as to) why you didn’t play in the remaining games. And if you played one play after the sixth game, then you would lose that redshirt opportunity.
“Now, those four games can come at any time in the season, and I’m pretty sure that you don’t have to have a reason why you didn’t play in a fifth or a sixth game. So yeah, four games, allows them to get their feet wet and also be able to save that year of eligibility for a fifth year.”
The NCAA’s previous medical redshirt rule mandated that players who participated in either four games or 30 percent of a season’s games could qualify for a redshirt if they were injured. That injury also had to take place in the first half of the season.
Last fall, freshman receiver Tarik Black became eligible for a medical redshirt when he suffered a season-ending foot injury in Michigan’s fourth game of the year.
Michigan’s Tarik Black runs away from Air Force defenders in the fourth quarter Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Michigan Stadium. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
“(Black) was able to redshirt because he played four games,” Harbaugh said. “If he would’ve come back and played in the bowl game, he would’ve lost that year.”
Now, football players can play in up to four games at any point in a season and still take a redshirt. There’s no restriction on those four games. And as far as Harbaugh is concerned, there are no negatives with the new rule.
“It’s good because I think there’s something in human nature when a youngster’s told that he’s redshirting, that he’ll take a little bit something off the pedal,” Harbaugh said. “… They could be ready for the end of the season, provide depth.
“Also, here’s the latest twist with some of the players not participating in bowl games because they don’t want to get hurt and lower their draft stock. Now you have some of those younger players that are ready now by the end of their freshman year and can step in and get experience for the following season. So I think it’s a good thing for all concerned.”