BYU Football: Bronco drastically changes redshirt policy

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Posted: 1:47 PM- PROVO -- Brigham Young football coach Bronco Mendenhall believes playing college football is a privilege and not a right, even for players who are asked to sit out a season, a practice commonly referred to as "redshirting."

After Friday morning's first practice session, the coach announced that he is drastically changing the way the program awards redshirt seasons.

Now, instead of determining which players will redshirt at the start of the season, the coach will wait until the end of the season, possibly later, to make that decision. In essence, he hopes it keeps a player from "taking the year off" once he knows he won't be playing.

Redshirt seasons do not count against a player's eligibility, and many who redshirt basically have five seasons to play four.

"What I don't like is the view of entitlement, of, 'If I am not going to play, I am going to redshirt.' I think a redshirt is to be earned, now," Mendenhall said. "It is a different philosophy, but, just because a player is on the team for one year and doesn't play doesn't mean that that year is a year he is going to have [back], eligibility wise."

A player "burns" his redshirt year when he gets in one play, unless he gets injured and successfully appeals to the NCAA to get it back.

Mendenhall hopes the new policy will keep players working hard and involved with the team during the season and also in the offseason.

"Since that tone has been set, I like it and I think it prepares them more for the real world, where, you can't really take a year off and just be in an organization or on a team and [expect] it to be paid for."

Asked what led to the change, Mendenhall replied, "Principle."

He said there have been some BYU players before whose commitment level dropped once they learned they were going to be redshirted.

"It was one thing on my part that I think organizationally we needed to change," he said. "They will have to earn the redshirt year as a privilege, which is what it is."

In other news today:

-- Defensive end Bernard Afutiti, a junior college transfer, has finally been cleared to play. He was on the field for the first time Friday morning, but now must wait five days before he dons full pads as part of the NCAA's acclimatization rules.

-- Senior receiver Bryce Mahuika has quad strains and missed practice for the second-straight day.

-- The Cougars will scrimmage on Saturday at 10 a.m. at LaVell Edwards Stadium, but the session is not open to the public.

-- Max Hall was sharp in 11-on-11 workouts, completing 12 of 14 passes for 123 yards. Mendenhall also liked the performances of the two dueling to be his backup, Kurt McEuen and Brenden Gaskins.