It happens all the time, and it continues to be one of the more frustrating aspects of college football. Putting restrictions on where a student-athlete may or may not transfer wields unjustifiable power of a college kid’s college options, but that does not stop some programs and coaches from abusing such power. New Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is wasting no time in taking such power with news the Bulldogs have limited the transfer options for outgoing running back A.J. Turman.
According toa report from Seth Emerson of Dawg Nation, Turman is prevented from transferring to either Miami or Florida. Florida, of course, is a division rival of Georgia. Miami is where Turman’s former coach at Georgia, Mark Richt, ended up landing on his feet after being forced out by Georgia. This is a stark contrast from the way transfers used to be handled at Georgia under Richt.
“That’s not what he does; he doesn’t release people like coach (Mark) Richt did,” Turman said, referring to Smart. Turman, who says he was given permission from Georgia to transfer to any school except Miami and Florida, has filed an appeal with the NCAA to receive the option to transfer to any school he wishes.
“I guess that’s just how he does that, and I understand that,” Turman said of Smart. “He has to put his foot down coming to a new school because he doesn’t want everyone trying to get a release. So we’re just not used to it like the kids that didn’t get recruited by him. Because we always were told if we don’t feel at home at the University of Georgia we could leave. And I thought it was still like that. Then Coach Kirby …. I understand, and I’m glad that I guess I got my release.”
Schools do have the power to create such restrictions on a transferring player’s options according to NCAA rules. It has created some turbulent departures in the past and will again in the future unless the NCAA strips schools of the power to block transfers. Some schools are more extreme than others when it comes to blocking transfers, such as blocking transfers to any conference rivals or even schools appearing on future schedules in non-conference play. Smart, according to this report, is only blocking Turman from two potential transfer options, which is actually tame compared to what other players have experienced elsewhere, but it still feels a bit totalitarian in nature.