The Southeastern Conference is the only power five conference to have restrictions on transfers with less than two years of eligibility. The University of Alabama granted a transfer for Maurice Smith barring league approval Wednesday. Smith’s mother confirmed the news Wednesday night.
Smith and his family expect a decision to be made within 24 hours from the SEC. Smith is attempting to transfer to Georgia and follow in the steps of Kirby Smart and Mel Tucker, former assistants at Alabama. The SEC reviews transfer requests on a case to case basis, rather than having a standard for all transfer requests.
Head coach Nick Saban originally refused the transfer request which sparked controversy and increased news coverage. The backlash due to Saban’s original decision swayed the university the other way.
Smith finished spring camp as a first-string nickel back. After the transfer request is accepted, Smith will start for Georgia.
Assistant coaches have been allowed to take new jobs for years, leaving the system and players behind. The NCAA transfer system is arcane and needs adjustments to the current day. Players meanwhile recognize transferring is both difficult and looked down upon.
In Smith’s case, he has already graduated and should be allowed to transfer with ease. A kicker on the current Alabama football roster is a graduate transfer from Ole Miss. The deliberation over this case highlights the control that universities have that renders players powerless.
If a student graduates in the SEC, he should be allowed to transfer with ease if he wants to continue his playing days with the coach and system he is accustomed to. The precedent must be set as this is the perfect case to make an example for those who ponder transferring in the future. If you graduate, you can go wherever you want.