Bulldogs Beat

Kirby Smart believes NCAA should step in on issues such as Michigan holding spring practice in Florida

Jason Butt

jbutt@macon.com

Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart addresses the large crowd at the Macon Towndown Club jamboree Monday.
Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart addresses the large crowd at the Macon Towndown Club jamboree Monday. wmarshall@macon.com

Kirby Smart initially didn’t want to comment.

But, given his stance on programs such as Michigan deciding to hold spring practice in Florida, he gave in and decided to offer his stance on the topic.

There has been much debate of late when it comes to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh having his players spend their spring break at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has voiced his displeasure with not only Michigan doing this, but with Ohio State holding a spring satellite camp in Jacksonville, Florida as well.

Smart, who spoke for just over 30 minutes at the Macon Touchdown Club Spring Jamboree at The Methodist Home on Monday, took questions from fans in attendance. The first one he received was about Michigan heading to Florida for spring practice, to which he elaborated on after initially saying he didn’t want to.

"I can’t comment other than to say they’re obviously trying to gain a competitive advantage," Smart said. "That’s their right but I think the NCAA, in due time, will have to step in and keep it from getting out of hand. There are a lot of factors people don’t know about in that deal. You’ve got to think about recruiting rules, how are they going to handle those? Is it an advantage, disadvantage? Are they going to let other coaches come to it? Are they gonna hold open practices? Do we all come in there and watch them and scout them? If they’re all open practices why don’t we go and watch them? It’s a Pandora’s Box of what it’s going to get into, obviously."

Smart’s thoughts on this topic seem to mirror those of predecessor Mark Richt, who voiced his displeasure of Big Ten schools holding satellite camps in the Southeast region of the country.

As for spring practice, given Georgia’s location, Smart doesn’t seem to have any desire to have his team pack up and head elsewhere.

"I don’t want to get into doing it because I’d like to practice right there at my facility, and I’d also like to have the prospects that are in the state (of Georgia) come to our practices and us not have to go to them," Smart said. "It’s important for them to get on campus because ultimately that’s where they’re going to spend their next four to five years, on that campus, not wherever they’re at practice. I don’t know how it’s going to go down but it will be interesting to see."

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