New Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is making the Dawgs more Alabama. On the field, that could be good.
In this one way, it's not. He's barring running back A.J. Turman from freely transferring to Miami, where fired coach Mark Richt ended up. Under NCAA rules, a coach can scratch any number of teams off a player's list of potential scholarship situations.
"One of the reasons I put Miami on there was I wanted to set the precedent for the future, that kids would not be able to go to Miami right away," Smart said. "It's very important you understand that. 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."
Under Richt, Georgia was the rare program that allowed players to transfer freely. That was admirable, as coaches exercising control over former employees is somewhere between gross and petty. This new policy puts UGA on equal competitive footing with its peers, but that footing sucks. Bruce Feldman calls out UGA's athletic director for the appearance of hypocrisy.
UGA's defensive coordinator and ILBs coach just followed Smart from one SEC school to another without having to sit out a year or get special permission from Alabama. Smart, likewise, was free to choose a new school without Nick Saban issuing public precedents.
In this particular case, it's worth mention that Turman evidently wasn't planning on going to Miami. If he had been, the Orlando native could've appealed Smart's decision.
The point is, as always, that no professional coach should have this kind of power over amateurs anyway. The only argument is that it prevents a coach from taking a chunk of the roster with him to a new school, but UGA fired the coach Turman committed to play for. Any roster fallout from that is UGA's problem.
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