SEC correct to give Maurice Smith waiver, now it’s time to junk rule

Defensive back Maurice Smith was finally released from Alabama and is close to transferring to Georgia, pending an SEC waiver. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Defensive back Maurice Smith was given his release from both Alabama and the SEC and is expected to transfer to Georgia. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

It took a while, but the SEC made the right decision Friday and granted Maurice Smith a waiver of its graduate transfer rule, which will allow him to enroll at Georgia and not sit out a football season.

Now it’s time to junk the silly rule that made Nick Saban’s relative “forced blessing” and the conference’s release necessary to begin with.

The SEC will allow Smith to use his final season of football eligibility either this season or in 2017, assuming he achieves the minimum academic requirements. The SEC’s announcement states Smith may play in 2016 “contingent on completing at least nine credits of graduate level coursework in his degree program during the fall 2016 semester, and ultimately achieving his stated goal of earning a graduate degree in public health.”

Yeah. Not a problem. Today is Friday. Georgia began classes Thursday. But I think it’s safe to assume Georgia coach Kirby Smart can call in a favor if necessary that would allow Smith to enroll late. It’s widely believed Smart is eager for Smith to play this season, and possibly even challenge for a starting job.

It really never should have taken this long.

Some people, and certainly many coaches, are going to complain that this waiver will open Pandora’s box and allow a flood of other student-athletes to start transferring. My response: So what? We can certainly debate the potential pitfalls of lifting all transfer restrictions for players, but not an athlete who has graduated.

By graduating, which Smith did from Alabama last week after only three years, a student-athlete should be held up as a perfect example of the college mission, not shackled to a specific university or athletic program.

What’s the concern? That suddenly a bunch of football players are going to rush to graduate in three years so that they can transfer, too? And this would be a problem? Because I’m certainly not seeing a rush for a lot of players to graduate now.

Regardless of what happens next, Smith had such a compelling case to transfer that even Saban, arguably the most powerful figure in college sports history, surrendered.

Saban hates distractions. But it was his power-hungry, ego-driven, ill-advised decision to block Smith from transferring to another SEC school — and subsequent reporting from the AJC’s Seth Emerson that showed Smith’s locker had been emptied and his belongings trashed  — that created the mess.

Kudos to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, who’s relatively new on the job, for understanding that rejecting the waiver appeal would’ve been a bad look for the conference, especially given the backdrop of college athletes gaining more support in the court of public opinion. The next step for the SEC’s member presidents, athletic directors and coaches to re-examine all rules pertaining to transfers and find more realistic solutions to the issue.

“The standard for granting waivers has been clear and compelling evidence that there is reason for allowing an exception to SEC rules,” Sankey said in the release. “I found, among other contributing factors, that a student-athlete who graduates in three years and exhibits a strong commitment to his or her academic future provides compelling motivation to help them achieve their goals on and off the field.”

Sankey also said the intra-conference transfer rule was adopted in 2000 because it viewed potential transfers as “unhealthy.” But he added, “The current rule places our coaches and administrators in untenable situations, so it is time for us to address graduate transfer rules.”

Alas, a ray of bright and shiny logic is breaking through the clouds. It’s a start.

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36 comments
HotDawg
HotDawg

No problem with graduate transfers.

Undergrad transfers should have restrictions.

dawg fan
dawg fan

We get it Schultz.  Saban is clearly a horrible human being and a despicable person.  He probably kicks old people for sport and worships the devil.  He's probably killed a guy or two at some point too, just to win a football game.  I doubt there is a more evil person on Earth.  I'm convinced Schultz.  Will you shut up now?  By the way, please make sure "Dawgnation" gets all of Mark Richt's thoughts on the subject.  We're all dying to now that.  AJC=JOKE.     

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Let the transfer rule go?: that would upset the SEC Plantation

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Infraredguy And you really think that would hurt the SEC? I'm curious....in what way would it hurt?

Stinger2
Stinger2

Second blog you have used "Saban surrendered" this week.

Second time I have posted that I watched his presser when

he announced they were going to let Smith go. Saban never

threw up his hands and said I surrender. Come on Jeff, get over it or at least use something new to reflect your dislike of him.
























TideDawg
TideDawg

Let them transfer, anywhere, anytime they want without penalty. I don't think that is the answer. I believe that would kill the small schools that have one or two outstanding players that would be picked off by larger programs. GT's QB last year would be playing for a powerhouse school this year if that was allowed. No! You gotta come up with a better plan. I don't know what that is but there has to be a way. You could look at it this way.....how many parents give their teenage kids the freedom to do what they want, when they want? Would you do it?

GTBob
GTBob

It really shouldn't even be an SEC rule. There should be NCAA rules allowing anybody to transfer anytime they want without any penalty. I don't really blame coaches and ADs for exploiting the rule. It is in their best interest to do so. So the only real answer is for someone above to take the decision out of their hands. Unfortunately, that will likely never happen. Not because of the best interest of the student athletes but because of the best interest of power programs.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

Dumb rule for coaches to have power over students who graduated 


TideDawg
TideDawg

Well! Well! Jeff, the picture gets clearer with every article you write about the Maurice Smith fiasco. You have an obsession with trying to discredit Nick Saban. You don't really give a d... about Smith or the SEC rules. It's your obsession with Saban that's important to you. Did Saban step on your tiny little toes? Is being banned from the Alabama campus still smarting(were you banned or are you just afraid to go there?) Whatever the case may be, you're getting a lot of mileage out of Saban/Smith/SEC with your articles. I'm sure you feel empowered with the outcome and you probably think you had something to do with the outcome. Nada! They couldn't care less what you write or think. Of course I read your articles. They do for me what you are trying to do with all of your negative writings. They prove to me that you are a poor excuse for a writer. So if Smith doesn't cut it at Georgia are you going to blame Kirby Smart of letting Saban influence him. Some guys have an obsession with women and some have an obsession with Saban. Let it rest Schultz!

TideDawg
TideDawg

It might work out for Smith. He's going to a new team, but he already knows the main guy there. I doubt if there will be any defensive transfers to LSU.....unless they want to be 3rd on the depth chart. There's a saying that's been around for years....."They can't put but 11 on the field" however LSU this year is like Alabama last year.....that 11 changes every 4 minutes with no drop off. If you just like football and don't have a horse in the race.....mark that game on your calendar. It should be one of the best games of the year........I hope!

DBarzini
DBarzini

this is good news for the dogs---maurice can start from day 1!! the dude can make plays!

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Natrone


He's a decent player but certainly not a marquee player. He's no Landon Collins or HaHa Clinton-Dix. 


At Alabama we had a guy who performed well as a freshman safety last year who was likely going to start over Maurice this year. Its good for Bama because we'll go ahead and start that guy and it frees up a scholly that we can award to a better athlete. And its good for UGA because safety may be one of the spots where I think UGA is a little thin at. 


Should be good for both schools and good for Maurice. 

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

Yes it's time we start looking out for the student/athlete instead of the multi-million dollar programs.

yeezy
yeezy

Now Saban can recruit established SEC players from other teams...bet he's happy with this decision.

TOJacket
TOJacket

AJ Turman should be allowed to go to Miami now?....he knows CMR and CTB's offense and an ACC degree is better than a UGA degree any day of the dawg gone week!...get it, dawg gone...LOL

TOJacket
TOJacket

Is he bringing some of his rings to show the guys?.......Disco...Disco Dawgs.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@SomewherenSGa @TOJacket 1990.....as Willie would say....it's in the books, although a shared one because the Buffalos got 5 downs.....and there would not be many GT fans out there that wouldn't agree with me that 2014 is damn close to being good enough.....it was fun!

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

2014? Hahaha pathetic. Like UGA saying 2002, 2007, and 2012 were good enough.

Just TOjackoff attempting to justify coach turkey neck going 3-9 and losing to UGA again. What a joke you and your program are jackoff.

We run this state! Dribble this state! AND you are a dumb@$$!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@twelveofthirteen

Haven't seen much of you lately, 12/13.

TOJ's been running that yap nonstop w/o you around here to slap him around a little.

Hell, he still thinks GT runs this state--somehow.

Grant1296
Grant1296

Caryd knows damn well who runs this state...

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Cary is nothing more than a grumpy old loser just like fish fry and the jackets. Nothing to see here.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@twelveofthirteen Damn....Moe, Larry, and Curly all in one day....must be the time of year when the dawgs shat their pants?...welcome to football season you crotch-sniffers!

TOJacket
TOJacket

@twelveofthirteen 9-3= 3rd place in the East.....come on dawgs, we know you can get 2nd this year with Chubb and Eason!

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Grant1296 Good to hear from ya Grant.....you home for a change or still "On the road again"?

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

10-3

Beat you again.

Ranked.

Bowl game.

3-9

Not ranked.

No bowl.

Hahahahaha, why are you here running your grandpa toothless yapper again? IDIOT! Fish fry on the hot seat even without an AD at the criminal campus.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@twelveofthirteen 
Idiot?...hot seat?...criminal campus?...try to settle down sally...why, if you were upset with me....I just don't think I could bear it....loser hump.