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NCAA allows redshirts to play in bowl games for 2022

The NCAA will let players compete in a fifth (or even sixth!!) game in 2022-23 while still keeping their year of eligibility.

A detailed view of a banner with the Bowl Season logo before the 2022 Sugar Bowl between the Baylor Bears and the Mississippi Rebels at Caesars Superdome. Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA will allow players that have competed in at least four games this season to play in a fifth or even sixth during the 2022 bowl season, while not losing a year of eligibility, per a new rule waiver that has been passed. Cole Cubelic of ESPN was the first to break the news, which was confirmed by other outlets.

Division I sports eligibility is a hodgepodge of rules, but the basic standard is players have five years to compete in four seasons. However in college football, a player may participate in up to four games during a redshirt season, while not having that count as one of the four years as an active roster player.

With as many players as we’ve seen in 2022 hit the transfer portal, this change should help to increase the football quality of bowl games, while not punishing teams where coaching changes or other factors have decimated rosters.

This rule is only for 2022, but is a good decision with the entire landscape of what college sports is changing on the fly. With more player freedom has come consequences that haven’t been accounted for by the current rules. If this is the new NCAA, one that will be taken over by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on March 1 of next year, it might be a sign the long-stagnant body is willing to embrace change.

And that’s a good thing for fans, players, coaches, and schools.