Source of quotations for your viewing pleasure: http://vcuathletics.tv/comp/pdfforms/comp/med%20red/NEW%20VCU%20-%20Medical%20Red-shirt%20Policy%2005.03.09.pdf
According to NCAA Bylaw: 14.2.4 Medical Hardship Waiver:
In team sports, the injury or illness occurs when the student-athlete has not participated in more than three
contests or dates of competition (whichever is applicable to that sport) or 30 percent (whichever number is greater)
of the institution's scheduled or completed contests or dates of competition in his or her sport. Only scheduled or
completed competition (including exempted events but excluding scrimmages and exhibition contests identified as
such in the legislation) against outside participants during the playing season that concludes with the NCAA
championship, or, if so designated, during the official NCAA championship playing season in that sport (e.g., spring
baseball, fall soccer), shall be countable under this limitation in calculating both the number of contests or dates of
competition in which the student-athlete has participated and the number of scheduled or completed contests or
dates of competition during that season in the sport.
Or in short, if a player plays less than 30% of "countable' games, they can apply for a medical redshirt.
It goes on to say the following:
Dates of competition that are exempted (e.g., alumni contests,
foreign team in U.S.) from the maximum permissible number of contests or dates of competition shall count toward
the number of contests or dates in which the student-athlete has participated and the number of scheduled or
completed contests or dates of competition in the season, except for scrimmages and exhibition contests that are
specifically identified as such in the sport's Bylaw 17 playing and practice season regulations.
It does not seem to exclude conference championship games or bowl games. If they count than Mauti has played 4/14 of the games, which is just under 30%. Also, the repeated inclusion of the phrase "dates of competition in the season" gives me some hope that you don't actually need to play in the conference championship game for it count (not saying we can't though!). Also later in the bylaw:
regardless of whether the team participates in the conference championship, provided the
institution is a member of a conference and the conference holds a championship event in the applicable sport.
Unfortunately, that exact wording is only used under individual sports, like wrestling, tennis, gymnastics, etc. so I'm not sure it applies to team sports, but I hope so.
All in all it still sucks, but hopefully he won't end up missing a year, and in the mean time I hope he pulls a Sean Lee.