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Pac-12 teams navigate the NCAA’s new redshirt rule

October 3, 2018

ByANNEM.PETERSON

APSportsWriter

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has one way of tracking the players who might be impacted by the NCAA’s new redshirt rule going forward. He and his staff are keeping a spreadsheet.

While the spreadsheet idea may not be exactly novel, it’s a good way of navigating the new rule that governs how many games a player can appear in while still preserving a redshirt season. It used to be that even one game could cost a player an entire season of eligibility. Now players can appear in up to four games and still qualify for a redshirt year.

Utah is among four Pac-12 teams about to play a fifth game this week, which means some decisions loom.

Whittingham said there are just a handful of Utes players who might be impacted Saturday night when Utah plays at Stanford and going forward. Decisions already have been made on many players with redshirt eligibility.

“It’s all new territory, I mean it’s much different than it was before,” Whittingham said. “But the overriding factor is if we think a guy can help us win, we’re going to use him. It doesn’t make sense to redshirt guys and try to preserve a year if you think they can help you win now, because coaching is a win-now profession.”

Colorado heads into its fifth game having popped into the rankings at No. 21. The Buffaloes, coming off a victory over UCLA, are one of just 14 undefeated teams left in the nation.

Buffs coach Mike MacIntyre said decisions are made on a case-by-case and position-by-position basis, while also factoring in injuries.

“We have some freshmen that we’re not going to redshirt, we’re going to keep playing. We have some guys that have played one or two games that we’re actually holding for later in the season to use in those games if we need them, then some guys we’ve decided to go ahead and redshirt,” MacIntyre said.

For some programs, decisions about individual players have been obvious. Arizona tried to use the new rule in the case of left tackle Layth Friekh, who was granted an extra year of eligibility after playing in just one game as a freshman — the catch was that he was suspended the first two games of this season. The Wildcats asked that the suspension be reduced, in light of the new rule, but the NCAA turned down the request.

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