Alabama is standing by its decision to prevent Maurice Smith from transferring to Georgia.
The defensive back could transfer and play immediately at a different school after he graduates over the weekend. His mother said Smith wants to go to Georgia and raised questions about Alabama’s motives by noting wide receiver Chris Black transferred from Alabama as a grad transfer to Missouri.
Both teams are in the SEC, though neither is on Alabama’s schedule in 2016.
The Tide responded with a statement Thursday and outlined what it said were the differences in the two scenarios.
“While it is understandable that questions are being asked about similarities regarding a situation involving another former football student-athlete transferring to an SEC institution, that instance occurred only because of unique circumstances,” Alabama’s statement said. “The student-athlete elected to have surgery in the middle of the season and left the program. Because of the timing of his departure, his scholarship was not renewed and he requested to use the graduate transfer exception through the SEC. Our decision in this situation to support the SEC waiver was the exception and not the rule. We adhere to the SEC and institutional policies regarding issues of this manner. Waivers are not provided without compelling circumstances that present clear non-athletics reasons for the transfer. We remain happy to assist Maurice to enable a transfer to any non-SEC school and have been doing everything requested regarding that throughout this process.”
Black had ankle surgery in November and was out for the rest of Alabama’s season. Smith was a primary contributor on special teams for the entire 2015 season.
Smith said in a letter obtained by Dawg Nation that he found his belongings thrown “in the trash” in the locker room a day after he told Alabama coach Nick Saban he wanted to transfer. Saban said he wouldn’t be allowed to transfer to an SEC school.
“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.”
He said he also got a text that said he either needed to be all in or out and wasn’t permitted to be at the Alabama football facility. He’s currently able to use it, per his mother.
Smith was previously listed on Alabama’s online roster this week. He’s now not on it.
– – – – – –