What Is a Medical Redshirt in College Basketball?

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If you have stumbled across this page, it is probably because you are seeking information regarding a medical redshirt in college basketball. What is a medical redshirt and how does it work? Keep reading for answers to those questions and more!


A medical redshirt is a student who misses an entire year of competition due to injury and is granted an extension of his or her athletic eligibility to replace the lost season.

In men's college basketball, a student who participates in less than 30 percent of his team's games may apply for medical redshirt status.

The term is derived from redshirt, the practice of sitting out a year by choice, usually to avoid wasting a year's eligibility on a season that would otherwise be spent on the bench. Redshirting is far more common in football than in basketball.

Examples of Redshirting:

Syracuse guard Eric Devendorf tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a game last December, and missed the remainder of the season. Because he had played in just 10 of Syracuse's 32 games, the Big East determined that Devendorf was eligible to apply for a medical redshirt. That request was granted in September, and as a result Devendorf is now classified as a junior athletically for the 2008-09 season.

Why Redshirting Is Great for Everyone Involved

Although some people may not agree with college basketball allowing medical redshirts, most people would agree that it's the best thing for all parties involved.

If a promising NBA prospect goes down with a season-ending injury early on in his senior campaign, a medical redshirt could potentially save his future basketball career. A medical redshirt would allow him another year of eligibility where he could prove his health and remind NBA scouts why he was a can't-miss prospect before the injury.

For the college basketball team, they would get another change to win a title with their star player at the helm.

It's also important to note that a student-athlete is never required to use his/her redshirt. An athlete can go pro instead of returning to the college game if he/she wishes.

Insurance Policy

Redshirting is essentially an insurance policy for the student athlete and the school. Nobody wants to see a student athlete's future suffer due to an injury. Likewise, school's invest a lot of time and money in these student athletes, so it wouldn't be fair if an injury shortened his/her collegiate sports career.

Because injuries don't happen in basketball nearly as much as they happen in football, it's safe to assume that redshirting was created more so for college football than college basketball. However, injuries do occur in basketball as well and the same rules apply to redshirting in college basketball as they do in college football. That's why there is a big benefit to allowing medical redshirts for all collegiate sports, not just football.

Hopefully now you know everything you will ever need to know regarding a medical redshirt when it comes to the sport of college basketball.

Article updated by Brian Ethridge on 9/7/2015.

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Zegers, Charlie. "What Is a Medical Redshirt in College Basketball?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2016, thoughtco.com/what-is-a-medical-redshirt-in-college-basketball-325775. Zegers, Charlie. (2016, August 25). What Is a Medical Redshirt in College Basketball? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-medical-redshirt-in-college-basketball-325775 Zegers, Charlie. "What Is a Medical Redshirt in College Basketball?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-medical-redshirt-in-college-basketball-325775 (accessed November 22, 2017).