After Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said Friday new Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart had adjusted the program’s “stance” on unrestricted transfers, Smart confirmed the change on Saturday.
“I wanted to set the precedent for the future that kids would not be able to go to Miami right away,” Smart told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s very important that we understand that, and that’s pretty much standard operating procedure when a coach leaves one place, that a kid can’t go there with the coach. That’s important to me that people understand that.”
I’m sorry, what?
Smart clarified that A.J. Turman, the player at the center of this entire imbroglio, did not actually desire to transfer to Florida or Miami.
“Please understand that A.J. Turman is going to be able to go where he wants to go,” Smart said. “Part of the reason A.J. is leaving is he did not play here. He played two springs here and played pretty good, and we need A.J. Turman on this team. We tried to keep A.J. Turman on this team. But he is not being blocked to where he wants to go. Let’s make that perfectly here.
“Because he did not play here, and the person that was coaching him here is now there at Miami. So that has nothing to do with where he wants to go. He doesn’t want to go to Miami, he’s made that perfectly clear to me.”
But Smart is completely missing the forest for the trees here. Because this is how this story will read to everyone outside Smart’s brain and his employ: Coach who left Alabama for Georgia without penalty halts players from transferring from Georgia to Miami.
It’d be one thing if Mark Richt had left Georgia for Miami on his own, but Georgia fired him. And Miami isn’t on Georgia’s schedule at any point in the foreseeable future.
Smart said that no Georgia players have actually expressed an interest in transferring to Miami. So why the rule then? He says so without saying it here: “Greg (McGarity) realizes that the recruiting world has changed, he’s on the same page with me.”
Reading between the lines here, it appears the potential negative recruiting line of Georgia players bailing on their new coach to play for their old one is the impetus for the rule.
We’ll see if it’s worth the negative recruiting born from this story.