Chris Black

Getty Images

‘Bama offers clarification on Maurice Smith transfer imbroglio

12 Comments

Alabama defensive back Maurice Smith would like to transfer to Georgia. His mother said Alabama is blocking the transfer. Smith’s desire to leave the Tide has come at a personal cost to him.

In a push back against arcane transfer rules — there is no explanation for why Kirby Smart can leave Alabama for Georgia with no penalty while Smith can’t except for “we’ve always done it that way” — it has been pointed out Alabama allowed wide receiver Chris Black was allowed to transfer to Missouri without a crimson blockade.

Alabama offered this explanation on Thursday:

Still, Alabama could allow Smith to transfer to Georgia if it wanted. It just doesn’t.

Of course, Smart and Georgia have no leg to stand on. Earlier this off-season, the exact same scenario played itself out in Athens, except it was an even less inconvenient scenario for the Bulldogs.

Georgia running back A.J. Turman wanted to rejoin Mark Richt at Miami. Smart didn’t let him. Turman ended up at Florida Atlantic, and what went around finally came around.

Report: Maurice Smith ostracized, found ‘personal belongings in the trash’ after decision to transfer from ‘Bama

Getty Images
21 Comments

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.

Maurice Smith’s mom says Alabama blocking DB’s transfer to Georgia

Getty Images
6 Comments

It appears the Nick SabanKirby Smart rivalry of mentor-pupil is getting a heated off-field start ahead of wherever it winds up being on the field.

In June, reports surfaced that Maurice Smith had been given permission to pursue a transfer from Alabama, even as the defensive back’s family left the door open for a return to the Tide.  Georgia, headed by Saban’s former right-hand man Smart, was mentioned as a potential landing spot for the soon-to-be graduate transfer as a possible return faded.

However, it was reported last month that UA had steadfastly declined to, for whatever reason, release Smith from his scholarship.  Smith went through an appeals process to secure a release that has, thus far, been unsuccessful.

Tuesday night, Smith’s mother confirmed to DawgNation.com that her son “wants to go to Georgia. Period.” She also confirmed that the university in general and Saban specifically are, essentially, being absurdly obstinate when it comes to a player who has one year of eligibility remaining, a year in which the Tide and Bulldogs won’t face each other yet again, transferring to Athens and the former Tide defensive coordinator’s program.

From the report:

The university is continuing to be resistant to any request to release my son. That’s where we are,” Samyra Smith said. “In (Saban’s) mind, the best decision is for him to stay here. And he doesn’t think anything other than that is best for the kid. …

“They’re being difficult. Intentionally,” Samyra Smith said. “It’s his choice. It should be his choice, if he wants to leave here, he should be able to do that. ….

“He wants to go where he feels like he’ll have the level of success he wants to have. It may work, it may not. But it should be his choice.

If how Smith’s mother’s framing of the situation is even remotely accurate, it’s the bushiest of bush league moves by Saban.  Petty, even.  Or even worse.

Especially as, in mere days, the student-athlete involved in this hostage situation will be a graduate of his former school.  Why he can’t move on to the school of his post-graduate choosing is one of the greater hypocrisies of the current NCAA model.

Even more hypocritical?  Chris Black, who announced his decision to transfer from Alabama last December, landed at Missouri as a graduate transfer in February — without Saban or the university blocking his move to the SEC East school.

Ex-Bama WR Chris Black to stay in SEC, play at Mizzou

Getty Images
3 Comments

Chris Black may have left Alabama, but he’s not leaving the SEC.

As he did when he announced his decision on Twitter to leave Alabama back in December, Black took to the same social media website to announce his landing spot, revealing in a tweet that he will continue his playing career at Missouri.  Because he’ll join the Tigers as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

This upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

Black was fifth on the team in 2014 with 15 receptions for 188 yards.  With the departures of Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones, Black was the Tide’s leading returning wide receiver.  However, he caught just two passes for 23 yards this past season due to a combination of the emergence of transfer Richard Mullaney (54-600-4) and true freshman Calvin Ridley (75-893-5) as well as an ankle injury.

A four-star member of Alabama’s 2012 recruiting class, Black was rated as the No. 8 receiver in the country; the No. 11 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 58 player overall by Rivals.com.