An ugly situation involving the defending national champions keeps getting uglier.
Overnight, the mother of would-be Alabama graduate transfer Maurice Smith claimed that UA was blocking a move to Georgia. Smith has appealed the decision to block his transfer to UGA and reunion with former Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, thus far to no avail.
As part of that process, Smith wrote a letter to the university’s appeal committee. In the letter, which Smith’s mother shared with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the defensive back claims he was “ostracized” by the program after informing head coach Nick Saban of his decision to transfer June 16.
Smith went on to relay other claims of the treatment he received post-announcement:
“On Friday, June 17, I arrived at the athletic facility locker room to find my locker cleaned out and all of my personal belongings in the trash (photo attached) underneath trash,” Maurice Smith wrote. “These personal items included my family photos, written goals, inspirational and sentimental items memorializing my deceased former friend, roommate and teammate, Altee Tenpenny, and items of personal value from my former teammates.”
Smith also claims that he was barred from working out, eating at the athletic facility and the like.
Saban informed Smith June 27 that he would not be permitted to transfer to any other SEC school, including Georgia, and that “the SEC commissioner agreed with him” on that stance. That stands in stark contrast to the treatment of Chris Black, the wide receiver who announced his decision to transfer from Alabama last December and landed at Missouri as a graduate transfer in February — without Saban or the university or the conference blocking his move to the SEC East school.
While neither UGA nor any other SEC school were an option for Smith, Miami was as Saban granted the player a release to transfer to the school headed by former UGA had coach Mark Richt. Smith, though, didn’t follow through with a move to the Hurricanes, at last not yet, as he has his heart set on playing for his former coordinator.
“I felt confused and unfairly treated and did not pursue the release to UM,” Smith wrote. “Although things appeared hopeless, I communicated with my parents who told me to follow my heart and if UGA was where I felt I would have success, I should not back down and should pursue it.”
Smith, who declined to have his grant-in-aid renewed even as Saban told him he was renewing it instead of releasing him, is asking for an expedited review of his appeal. UGA has already kicked off summer camp, and Smith still needs to apply to and be accepted at a grad school, whether it be UGA or elsewhere.