Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Saban is blocking a transfer, and UGA fans can't really gripe

Nick Saban is blocking defensive back Maurice Smith from transferring to Georgia. ( This according to Maurice Smith's mom , who vented to Seth Emerson of DawgNation.) Georgia is coached by Kirby Smart, Saban's former chief lieutenant. This is the same Kirby Smart about whom Saban got teary-eyed when discussing his impending departure as Alabama was winning yet another national title in January.

Long story short: You knew it wouldn't take long for those misty watered-colored memories to yield to the pragmatics of college football. It's August, and here we are.

Saban is citing the SEC rule of giving the originating program the right to block a transfer to conference brethren -- or certain other hand-picked schools. (Though Alabama did, as Samyra Smith archly noted, allow grad transfer Chris Black to move to Missouri.) It's the same rule Smart invoked when A.J. Turman was leaving Georgia. Indeed, Georgia also prevented Turman from transferring to Miami -- although Turman hadn't expressed an interest in Miami and landed at Florida Atlantic -- because it didn't want ex-Bulldogs playing for Mark Richt.

In sum, what's good for the goose is sauce for the gander. Which isn't to say the SEC rule is a good rule. It's not. It's a silly one. Feel free to email Greg Sankey about it.

As we know, Richt had a different take. He let guys go wherever. Tray Matthews wound up at Auburn. J.J. Green is at Georgia Tech. Johnathan Taylor landed at Alabama, though Alabama wishes he hadn't. (Nick Marshall and Zack Mettenberger went to junior college after being booted from Georgia's squad, rendering the rule inapplicable.) But Richt, as we also know, is a kinder, gentler sort of coach. He's not Saban. Indeed, he was often criticized for not being Saban.

For Georgia fans to whine about Saban blocking Smith is disingenuous, seeing as how Smart just levied a similar block on Turman. But it's also evidence that the Bulldogs have, at least in the matter of transfers, risen to the Saban Level. Or, depending on your slant, sunk to it.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.