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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Gone are the days when the final word on a redshirt designation comes solely from the head football coach.
A new trend has gripped the sport, one in which the athletes are much more inclined to decide whether it’s worth cutting short a season to preserve a year of eligibility. The shift stems from the new redshirt rule, passed by the NCAA Division I Council last year, which allows players to participate in any four games in a season and still use a redshirt that year.
While some Big Ten coaches have used the change to their benefit, others have experienced a stunning backlash. Such is the case at Rutgers, where quarterback Art Sitkowski and running back Raheem Blackshear opted out of the 2019 season with the Scarlet Knights logging a 1-3 record and seemingly destined for another last-place finish.
A precedent has been set, and there’s no turning back.
“I think the players kind of hold the power now in that, if they decide or choose not to play, there’s really nothing a coach can do,” Maryland coach Michael Locksley said.
Sitkowski and Blackshear took the redshirt after coach Chris Ash was fired. Interim coach Nunzio Campan
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