What is Red Shirting?

Red shirting is when a player does not participate during a college season. A player may be red shirted at any point in his/her college career. College players are only eligible to play for four years within a 5 year period, making red shirting important if a player misses a season.

Even if a player is red shirted, they can still practice with the team and are still eligible to receive any scholarships they would if they were playing in games. There are two types of red shirting, medical and non-medical.

A medical red shirt is when a player is injured and qualifies for a Medical Hardship Waiver. To qualify for a Medical Hardship Waiver a player must have a season-ending injury or illness between senior year in high school and before 20% of the collegiate season has been played. The Medical Hardship Waiver allows players an additional season of competition during the five-year period of eligibility. Red Shirting and the Medical Hardship Waivers are not automatic. Therefore, players should consult with their coach and athletic trainer to get it approved by the NCAA.

Non-medical red shirting can be for freshmen who are sometimes red shirted to allow them time to get familiar with a team and improve their game. Another reason to red shirt is if a player does not plan on staying at the college they are currently enrolled in. If a player plays for a school and then transfers to another school at the same or lower division, then the player is forced to sit out a year. A third reason for a red shirt is if a player went to study abroad in another country, they can red shirt and be able to play for four seasons in the U.S.

Many players who plan on being in school for at least five years, are in 5-year programs, or are planning on going to graduate school, can red shirt a year in their undergrad, for any reason, so that they can still play the fifth year of school.