New Georgia head coach Kirby Smart took some criticism this offseason for his decision to block players from transfer to Miami, where former Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt is currently working. Now, ironically enough, Smart is saying he is in support of players transferring from one SEC school to the other. This opinion surfaced as Georgia is hoping to see Alabama defensive back Maurice Smith be given the opportunity to transfer to — you guessed it — Georgia.
Smith previously informed Alabama head coach Nick Saban of his intent to transfer, but Saban responded by letting him know transferring to another SEC program would be off limits. Under the current structure in place, Saban and Alabama have the power to block such transfers. Smith’s story following his decision being relayed to Saban is not a positive one, which we previously detailed. Smith wants to transfer to Georgia and is hoping an appeal to Alabama will grant him that opportunity to play for former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
“Every young man that we want to bring here to the University of Georgia, we want them to graduate from this place,” Smart said, per Dawg Nation. “And if they have an opportunity to go to a graduate school at another place, I certainly think that that’s something that we’re going to let them do if they have an opportunity to go, once they graduate. I think that’s important to know.”
By all accounts, Smart is looking to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to be able to welcome any player wanting to go to Georgia, but is also blocking the possibility of going to another specific school or schools should they decide to leave Georgia. Again, Smart is doing nothing wrong by the letter of the NCAA bylaws and conference rules. He has the power to do such a thing, even if it seems morally wrong to prevent a student-athlete from placing himself in the best possible position he feels comfortable with. Smart says he is fine with players transferring after they graduate at Georgia. That also is a tad self-serving for Smart, as it helps Georgia’s graduation rate with the football program, which is used determining APR scores and standings.
It is time to let the players choose where they want to go to schools, and not the head coaches being paid millions to win football games.