The saga of Maurice Smith’s desired transfer away from Alabama has progressed to the the conference level.
According to the Tuscaloosa News and Tide Sports, Alabama has granted Smith a full release from his scholarship. Smith wants to transfer to Georgia and now must get a waiver approved from the SEC to transfer to a school within the conference.
Smith, a defensive back, recently graduated from Alabama. As a grad transfer, he can play immediately for his new team in 2016. The SEC said in a statement that it doesn’t comment on individual waiver processes.
“The SEC does not comment on requests to waive SEC rules,” the SEC release said. “As part of the SEC waiver process, a due diligence procedure ensures that pertinent information from the involved parties is gathered. This information is gathered for the purpose of a thoughtful and appropriate consideration of the particular facts associated with each case. The intent is for the waiver process to be handled in an efficient but deliberate manner, so the timeline for resolution of a waiver request varies with each unique situation. The SEC does not provide waivers of SEC rules absent circumstances that demonstrate a clear reason for granting an exception to those rules. Each waiver request is reviewed on a case by case basis.”
Smith’s desire to transfer has been the dominant (and dramatic) topic over the summer. He said he found his items in the locker room in the trash after he informed the team he wanted to explore his options.
His mother said she contacted Alabama coach Nick Saban during the 2015 season regarding Smith’s post-graduation plans. The family met with Saban last week and Smith’s mother said Saban walked out after she had a one-on-one discussion with the coach.
Alabama has previously defended not releasing Smith from his scholarship and contrasted his situation from that of wide receiver Chris Black, who transferred to Missouri as a graduate transfer. Black was injured during the 2015 season and the school said his scholarship wasn’t renewed.
Smith was a special teams contributor in 2015 and in line to possibly start at nickel back in 2016. Georgia, a team not on Alabama’s schedule in 2016, is now coached by former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
When asked about Smith on Wednesday Saban said (via Tide Sports) the issue was “past us now. It is beyond us. We don’t really need to talk about that anymore and I don’t have any other comments to make about it.
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