Explaining the terms “red-shirt” and “grey-shirt”


With this Wednesday being National Signing Day for college football, I thought I’d try to clear up some questions that will surely come up. During that day and the next few days, you will hear terms like “red-shirt” and “grey-shirt”. But what exactly do they mean?

*Red-shirt: If you hear that one of our incoming freshman players are going to “red-shirt”, it means that they will still attend classes as a full-time student. The player will also practice with the team, just like any other player. The difference is that this athlete will not play in any games, and the year will not count towards their NCAA eligibility. So he will still have 4 full seasons remaining after his first year on campus.

If for some reason he has to play during the season, maybe because other players are hurt, the term “red-shirt” is removed from his status, and he is then considered a true freshman, and it will count as his first full season for the team. In football, a lot of incoming freshmen are typically asked to red-shirt so they can take a year to get bigger and stronger and just learn the game at the college level. (Obviously, we know that UofL has used a lot of true freshmen in the last two seasons and it has worked out, but they pretty much played out of necessity.)

*Grey-shirt: If a team over-signs, which means they sign more than 25 players to a class, some players may be asked to “grey-shirt”. What this means is that a player commits to the school, and then pays for his own school for a semester to keep his eligibility. This player would either not go to school in the fall at all, or pay his own way for the semester as a part-time student. The player is not officially on the team, and can not practice or condition with the team, or even attend meetings. They are treated like normal students.

When January rolls around, the player can enroll full time and officially join the team. He is then considered part of the recruiting class for the following season. When an athlete starts classes full-time, he/she has 5 calender years to play 4 seasons. Since the grey-shirted athlete was only in school part-time, his 5 year “window” has not started yet. It will begin when he is officially a full-time student. That player can then also “red-shirt” if needed, so they could possibly be on campus for 6 years to play 4 seasons.

National Signing Day is tomorrow (Wednesday), February 5. CSZ will be bringing you all of the updated information as the day goes along. So join us tomorrow!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.