Skip to main content

Kirby Smart explains the unpopular decision head coaches have to make regarding transfer restrictions


Just as death and taxes are guaranteed in life, players transferring is about as good of a guarantee as it gets in college football when a newly appointed head coach brings in his own staff, along with various philosophical changes.

Oftentimes, when a player comes to a head coach and states his intent to transfer, coaches catch heat when they place restrictions on the school that the player can transfer to. The SEC actually has a rule that does not allow players to transfer to another program within the league, so when running back AJ Turman asked Kirby Smart for a release, Smart made sure that rule was known, and then added Miami (where former Georgia head coach Mark Richt landed) to that list.

Smart caught some heat in the media for that decision, as many of his colleagues in the profession before him have, and provided the following explanation for why he believes in transfer restrictions during a media session over the weekend.

"The main reason the SEC has the rule is to keep other teams from recruiting kids from current teams on the roster within the SEC. So we all adhere to that rule, and that's the rule that I believe in. I don't believe in allowing a kid to transfer within the conference."

"AJ told me that he wanted to transfer to a smaller school, closer to home. He mentioned a couple smaller schools, and said that he had no interest in going to Miami, and no interest in going to Florida."

"One of the reasons that I put Miami on there was that I wanted to set a precedent for the future that kids were not going to be able to go to Miami, right away. It's very important that we understand that, and it's pretty much standard operating procedure when a coach leaves one place that a kid can't go there with the coach. It's important to me that people understand that."

Smart went on to note that every kid that wants to transfer to one of the restricted schools can file an appeal with the NCAA, and Georgia will not release kids to another SEC school unless a "special situation" presents itself, and then they will deal with it on a case-by-case basis.

"There are very few situations where you want a kid going somewhere that is on your schedule, or someone in your league," Smart noted. "The reasons for that are two or three-fold; you don't want a kid negative recruiting when he's at another place, and you're trying to protect the interest of your team and our team here, and you don't want to have to play against him - for obvious reasons."

Smart closed by making it clear to the media that Turman has been allowed to transfer where he wanted to, and that they did everything they could to keep him on the team.