Redshirt Maternity Style

By Jeff Lippman - May 30, 2007

There are thousands of reasons why a student-athlete might redshirt their season.

All student athletes get four years of eligibility that can be redshirted into a fifth year should the athlete either not play for a full year, or take a medical leave of absence from the team.

That rule goes for all student athletes, regardless of gender, so why has Myles Brand, the NCAA's President, called for the Committee on Women's Athletics (CWA) to convene to discuss the topic of what happens to a female student athlete when she must redshirt due to pregnancy?

Pregnant student athletes may need more recovery time than a normal injury because, on top of the nine months of pregnancy, there is the recovery time and the time spent mothering that is included in Maternity Leave at a regular business organization.

The CWA will review the relevant policies and rules during their upcoming July meeting in Charlotte, N.C.

As of right now, all decisions regarding pregnancy are dealt with at the University level, but, in fact, many schools have rulings that should a female athlete get pregnant, they would lose their athletic scholarship or financial aid altogether.

The CWA will convene to decide whether there should be a specific set of rules and guidelines that the NCAA should follow, one of which would be to propose a six year window of eligibility for pregnancies, instead of the normal five years.

This decision is surely going to raise some debate as to the fairness of this ruling. Men, of course, are not included in the six-year window and so it is considered a special case.

An argument against giving pregnant women a six-year window would be that pregnancy isn't exactly a medical ailment that is unavoidable. Most women have a choice before pregnancy and some might say if they choose for pregnancy at that time, they are choosing against playing collegiate athletics and shouldn't be rewarded with extra eligibility.

Others would argue that pregnancy is a natural part of life and should an athlete get pregnant, they should be given every opportunity to continue with their sports when they are ready, much like the country has done with Maternity Leave.

Personally, I am glad that I don't have to be the one making this touchy decision, as whatever is decided will ultimately ruffle someone's feathers.

So good luck, CWA.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 02:19 PM on May 30, 2007
Comments (1)


How about you stop using the term "student-athlete"?

Do you know why the NCAA FORCED its members to even use that moronic term?

Why are journalists cow-towing to the NCAA's PR machine by continuing to use that term?

Look it up.

It was created by none other than Walter Byers for the sole purpose to quell any anti-trust violations vis-a-vis the unionizations of college athletes in the 50's.

Why on earth would a journalist use such a term?

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