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Redshirted players may soon be allowed to play in bowl games

Christian McCaffrey skipped the Sun Bowl and a lot of people freaked out about it. After decades of conference commissioners, NCAA officials, bowl directors and television executives systematically "devaluing" the bowl season, a player calling the adults' bluff caused a reaction similar to that if the Stanford running back announced the Statue of Liberty was ugly.

Still, McCaffrey (and LSU running back Leonard Fournette) forged a path that many players likely didn't realize was available to them, and I predicted when it happened that more players will follow suit in the future. Fournette going No. 4 overall to the Jaguars and McCaffrey No. 8 to the Panthers didn't exactly absolve that theory.

Many have suggested since December to remedy this coming epidemic by allowing redshirted players to play in bowl games, and the AFCA is taking them up on it. AFCA executive director Todd Berry told Fox Sports's Stewart Mandel the organization is forwarding a proposal to the NCAA that would allow redshirted players to play in up to four games and retain their extra year of eligibility.

"I think that would be pretty intriguing to some of the fan bases, which might legitimize some of those bowl games and make them more interesting," Berry said.

Coaches back the proposal as a necessity against the ever-lengthening season -- where players are asked to endure more games and more plays than ever before. Now, a redshirt freshman receiver could join the active roster in order to relieve a depleted unit and not pay a personal cost for being a team player.

While the proposal is intended in part to guard against the incoming wave of players skipping bowl games to get a head start in draft prep, it's important to remember that A) McCaffrey and Fournette were in the elite of the elite among NFL prospects, B) this could actually lead to more players skipping bowl games and C) for every McCaffrey there's a Solomon Thomas, who does not go No. 3 overall if not for his two sacks of future No. 2 pick Mitch Trubisky.

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