Know Your Terms


Anyone that tells you at some point in your life you stop learning IS LYING!  Just like the workforce is forever evolving, so is the game of high school recruiting.  Rules are changing, avenues of communication are sharpening, and the terms or language of recruiting are building faster than the dictionary can be printed.

To make sure you are armed with the right information, UGR wants to provide a section of terms or “need to know” phrases that will help you understand and/or communicate with college coaches while making your way thru the process.


Redshirt – To be redshirted by a college means that you will stay onto a program as a scholarship athlete but will not see any playing time for that season.  You will be able to train and participate in all athletic activities, just not see the field for that season.  There may be several reasons why this comes into play but the most common are:

For development, usually used in an athlete’s freshman year to give them time to increase muscle mass, getting adjusted to college life, increasing knowledge of the playbook, or to keep 4 years of eligibility for the athlete because their position is deep (there are a few athletes ahead of them) at the college.  Do note that your “football clock” does start because you have enrolled full time at a university.

As a medical redshirt, meaning that if you get hurt early in the season and don’t think you will heal in time to play, this will give you the option to keep some eligibility time.  A good need to know: as of the 2012/2013 by laws football players can play in up to 3 of the 11 games, volleyball can play in 6 of 26 scheduled competitions, and track can compete in 4 of 18 and still use their medical redshirt in the year of hardship/injury.

Grayshirt – A grayshirt scenario gives the college the option to hold onto an athlete for a semester without bringing them on campus.  The college will “hold” a scholarship for the athlete and bring them on campus in January.  Most colleges ask that the athlete enroll PART TIME into a local community college to get extra credits to transfer in with.  The athlete cannot enroll in any more than 9 hours otherwise they will be considered a full time student at the community college and cannot transfer in January.  This option is a “gentleman’s agreement” of sorts and an athlete must re-sign an NLI to stay bound to that college (have seen this loophole used on both sides).  The other benefit for a college is that they place your scholarship on their next year’s count if they have over offered for the current season.

Green shirt – This term is an interesting one because most know the process better than its actual name.  A green shirt option gives the athlete the opportunity to forego the 2nd semester of their senior high school season and enroll early into college.  The athlete must be able to graduate early from their high school and meet all minimum requirements with the NCAA/NAIA eligibility center.  This option can be a huge advantage to an athlete.  Getting a few extra months to learn a playbook, gelling with your teammates early, the chance to physically change your body using college level equipment can really increase an athlete’s chances on seeing the field as a true freshman.


For most that are “in the know” the NCAA Clearinghouse (now called the Eligibility Center).  What some may not be familiar with is the is also another eligibility center called the NAIA Eligibility Center.  They both require a fee to register and have processes that must be complete to get into the schools that they govern.  What are the differences?

NCAA Eligibility Center governs a certain amount of colleges that fall into their DI, DII, or DIII categories.  The school’s category is decided by enrollment size.  Their center will decide whether you are eligible to attend either a DI or DII college by calculating your core GPA (both levels) and assessing your test scores against your core GPA (DI only).  DIII does not give athletic scholarships so entrance into their school is strictly academics.  They will use a cumulative GPA (the unweighted one on your transcript) but their GPA expectation and test score requirements are usually higher.

NAIA Eligibility Center governs a certain amount of colleges that use your cumulative GPA (the unweighted one on your transcript) but have a minimum test requirement of 18 ACT or 860 SAT (math and reading only).  So depending on how strong your core GPA is (or not), NAIA schools give you options academically if you are really wanting to continue your football career and get and education.

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