Rutgers latest to feel unintended consequence of revamped redshirt rule
When the revamped redshirt rule debuted before the start of last season, a sizable number of coaches loved the fact that it would allow them to get young players some playing time while also allowing them to redshirt if they didn’t participate in more than four games. One unintended/unanticipated consequence of the rule, however, is that it allows healthy, productive, starting members of teams to shut it down after four games while contemplating a move to another school the following season.
Rutgers is the latest example of the latter phenomenon, but they certainly won’t be the last.
Artur Sitkowski, an 11-game starter under center for the Scarlet Knights a year ago, started the past two games for RU and was expected to do so again this weekend against Maryland. However, following the blowout loss to Michigan in Week 5, head coach Chris Ash was fired.
Thursday, acting head coach Nunzio Campanile revealed that Sitkowski will not play this weekend as the second-year sophomore quarterback decides how he wants the remainder of the season to play out.
“I had a discussion with Art this morning and he came to me and said he’s considering — he obviously had a really tough week and he’s going through a lot — so he’s contemplating evaluating taking a redshirt,’' Campanile said according to nj.com. “He asked not to play in this game so we’ll give him some time, supporting him 1,000 percent. He’s a great kid. He’s been a valuable asset to this team. So we’re going to take time. He’s ready to in an emergency role be the backup and ready to play but obviously there’s a lot of changes this week so we want to make sure we do the right thing by him.”
Sitkowski has played in three games this season. If he were to play two more and get beyond the four-game threshold, he’d be ineligible to take a redshirt and lose a year of eligibility. If he stays at or below the threshold, he could remain at RU and maintain three years of eligibility starting next season; he could also transfer and, given the coaching change, likely receiver a waiver that would allow him to play immediately at another FBS program in 2020.
Last season as a true freshman, Sitkowski’s 18 interceptions were tied for the most at the FBS level and his 49.1 completion percentage was tied for third-worst, while his 76.4 passer rating was dead-last among all qualified quarterbacks. This year, Sitkowski completed nearly 65 percent of his passes for 429 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Sitkowski regained his starting job this season when McLane Carter, a grad transfer from Texas Tech, suffered a concussion in the Week 2 loss to Iowa. As Carter still hasn’t been cleared from concussion protocol, Boston College transfer Johnny Langan will get the start this weekend. As for Langan’s backup? From nj.com: