The new football head coach at Georgia has brought in a new stance on players who wish to transfer.
Former head coach Mark Richt allowed players who wished to leave to do so without any restrictions placed on them. That will no longer be the case under head coach Kirby Smart, as evidenced by a restriction given to former Georgia running back A.J. Turman, who was granted a release Wednesday.
Turman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a condition of his departure from the program was that he could not enroll at Florida, a conference rival, or Miami, where Richt and former running backs coach Thomas Brown are employed.
Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity was in accord with Richt on the open-door stance and previously stated as much. But after meeting with Smart to discuss the topic, he has agreed to a change in operation.
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“Kirby and I discussed this weeks ago, and he brought me up to date on the transfer culture in today’s world,” McGarity said. “While we don’t totally restrict transfer opportunities, we do take each request on its own merit to determine if any restriction should be placed on a released student on an individual basis.”
McGarity said there isn’t and hasn’t been a policy in writing that specifically states how the athletics department handles transfer situations. Richt preferred to allow transfer students to go wherever they wanted. Smart will take, and already has taken, a different course of action.
Restricting destinations for transfers is not uncommon as most college programs do so. In many instances, a school will restrict a player from transferring to conference opponents and rivals.
Under Richt, however, Georgia did not prevent former running back/defensive back J.J. Green from transferring to Georgia Tech following the 2014 regular season. Green will be eligible to compete against the Bulldogs on scholarship in 2016. Conversely, Georgia Tech would not allow basketball standout Robert Carter to transfer to Georgia as a condition of his release in 2014. Carter ended up transferring to Big Ten program Maryland.
McGarity said Smart is prepared to speak about his position on transfers and deferred details on the subject to him. Smart is scheduled to meet with reporters on Saturday following Georgia’s third spring practice.
McGarity said he agreed to Smart’s transfer after going over the specifics with him.
“I learned a lot in that conversation I was not aware of,” McGarity said.