What Is a Redshirt Senior In College Athletics?


What Is a Redshirt Senior?

A redshirt senior is an athlete who has completed four seasons of eligibility but has not yet received a degree from their college or university. The term “redshirt” comes from the fact that these athletes typically don’t compete in their first year of eligibility. Instead, using that year to develop their skills and improve their chances of success in the following years.

What Role Do They Play?

They often play a key role on college sports teams, providing experience and leadership to younger athletes. Depending on the sport, they may be called upon to fill important roles on the field or court. In some cases, redshirt seniors may even be drafted by professional teams before they’ve graduated.

When Should A Student Choose To Redshirt?

Whether or not an athlete chooses to redshirt can be a difficult decision. For some, the extra year of development may be worth the cost of another year of tuition and fees. Others may feel ready to compete at the highest level and prefer to start their professional careers sooner.

Ultimately, it’s a personal decision that each athlete has to make based on their own circumstances.

What Are The Benefits Of Redshirting Your Senior Year?

Benefit 1: More Time To Develop Physically and Mentally

Many college athletes are still physically and mentally growing and maturing as freshmen or sophomores. By redshirting, they have an additional year to bulk up their frame while fine-tuning their skills on the field or court. This can give them a significant advantage when they eventually compete as upperclassmen.

Benefit 2: Improved Chances of Success

They are often more experienced and battle-tested than their younger counterparts. They’ve been through the ups and downs of a collegiate season before and know what it takes to be successful. This can give them a significant advantage when competing for playing time or scholarships.

Benefit 3: More Time To Enjoy The College Experience

Being a redshirt senior gives athletes one more year to enjoy the full college experience. They’ll have another year to live in the dorms, make new friends, and take advantage of all that campus life offers. For many student-athletes, this is an invaluable experience they wouldn’t trade for anything.


To summarize, a redshirt senior is a student-athlete who has participated in competitions for five years or less due to various circumstances, such as injuries or health reasons (COVID, for example).

The NCAA allows these athletes to compete for an additional season beyond their four-year eligibility. Redshirt seniors play an important role on college teams and often provide invaluable experience and leadership.