An inundation of phone calls and text messages swarmed Todd Berry’s phone shortly after lunchtime Wednesday.
Jubilation occurred from his coaching counterparts. For Berry, the executive director for the American Football Coaches Association, 17 years' worth of emotions were built up.
For nearly two decades, Berry pushed for redshirt reform.
On Wednesday morning, the NCAA Division I Council passed Proposal 2017-17, which amends bylaw 12.8 that will allow players to participate in up to four games without burning their redshirt year. Final approval will come from the NCAA Board of Governors.
“It's been what I thought it would be,” Berry told CNHI by phone from Waco, Texas. “Text messages and phone calls basically saying, 'It's a long time coming and excited about this for this next year's class and those classes that follow.'”
Berry chuckled a few times between responses. He knows the importance of Wednesday’s legislative decision; not for himself, but rather for all parties involved.
“This is a huge win for our student athletes,” he said. "I appreciate all the work our coaches did in terms of talking to their athletic directors and our presidents about why this was significant. … The biggest holdup, quite honestly, (was) giving them the reasons why this is significant.”
The council addressed one concern not specifically outlined in the ACC’s proposal, stating mid-year enrollees who play in the postseason can’t use the exception.
In other words, only players on the fall roster would be able to play in up to four games and count the year back.
Originally tabled by the council in April based on questions of timing, the number of games and application to other sports, the council moved forward with the proposal for football.
The current rule gives student athletes five years to play four seasons with the option of taking a redshirt year for academic or athletic purposes. But even if a player is in for one snap, it’s counted as a full season.