You've got redshirts, green shirts and gray shirts. You can add a new term to your college football lexicon: academic redshirt.
The NCAA is implementing more stringent academic requirements starting in 2016. Meaning this new eligibility criteria would first affect players entering their freshman years in high school. Here are the details:
Current initial-eligibility standards require entering freshmen to graduate high school with 16 core courses passed and a minimum 2.0 GPA matched with an ACT or SAT score on a sliding scale.
The 2016 standards mandate the same 16 core courses but stipulate that 10 must be completed by the start of the student's senior year of high school and that all 16 are finished in four years. So effectively say goodbye to the practice popular in basketball of reclassifying to enjoy a fifth year of high school.
And the minimum GPA jumps to 2.3.
According to a survey conducted by the NCAA of all freshmen who enrolled last fall, approximately 40 percent would have failed to meet the 2016 requirements which is, like whoa.
An academic redshirt is a student-athlete, starting in 2016, who meets the old eligibility requirements by not the more stringent standard. Players who are classified as academic redshirts can receive a scholarship and practice with the team but cannot participate in games.
A key difference between an academic redshirt and the old Prop 48 / Prop 16 "partial qualifiers" -- who could practice as freshmen but couldn't play -- is that academic redshirts don't lose a year of eligibility. Academic redshirts are left with four years to play four seasons; partial qualifiers had four to play three.
These more stringent academic eligibility standards seem to level the playing field a bit among schools with differing academic admission standards. So we can partially shelve the "tougher academics" excuse frequently used to rationalize Boston College football's poor performance of late, yes?
Hat tip: Backing The Pack