Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been one of the more progressive minds in the sport over the years, but he is not exactly on board with the new redshirt rule in college football this season.
“I do think that this is not a good rule,” Saban said of the redshirt rule, according to Yahoo! Sports. “The timing of guys being able to say ‘I want to get redshirted’ is not good — the fourth or fifth or sixth game of the season after they’ve played three or four games.”
Saban went on to suggest a player choosing to transfer after four games is unfair to the teammates that player is then leaving behind.
“We gave them a scholarship. I don’t really think it’s fair to their teammates to have the option to not continue to play,” Saban explained. “I think that’s not a good thing. I think the intent of the rule was so you can play a young player, a freshman player, and enhance his development. This has turned into something that I think is less than what we all desired it to be.”
The new redshirt rule allows a player to appear in up to four games without sacrificing a year of eligibility, as long as that player has a redshirt year to use. The transfer rule was implemented with the idea of providing some more roster flexibility throughout the season to get younger players some playing time and provide a possible buffer to fill in depth concerns that arise due to injuries as the season goes along. But one of the other impacts the rule is having is becoming more visible in that players can now appear in four games and then decide whether or not they want to transfer to another program for a shot at a better position on the field.
Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant made his decision to transfer out of the program last week, shortly after Dabo Swinney had decided to give the starting job to freshman Trevor Lawrence. Bryant’s decision to leave Clemson in the middle of the season may become the new norm under the redshirt rule, which is what is what is concerning Saban and perhaps other coaches around the country.
The reason this is relevant at Alabama is that Jalen Hurts just played in his fifth game for Alabama, thus burning his year of eligibility this season despite Tua Tagovailoa being the team’s starter. Saban said he was not going to be concerned about the redshirt rule as he went through this season, and perhaps that was evidenced by the decision to play Hurts as often as he has in games that were lopsided matchups favoring Alabama.