There's tension brewing in Tide country as defensive back Maurice Smith is in the midst of a difficult and awkward situation at the moment.
Smith is currently being denied the request to transfer to another SEC school. That school is Georgia, whose current head coach is former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. According to DawgNation.com, his request to transfer to Miami (FL) was pretty clearly accepted. Smith said that he wasn't going to settle and his parents wanted to follow his heart and Athens is where his heart wants him to be.
He has attempted to gain his release since mid-June. Smith first announced his desire to transfer, which he had a choice of multiple schools who had expressed interest in accepting his transfer, back on on June 13. On June 16, Smith stated that he sat down with head coach Nick Saban to discuss his intentions to transfer and asked if he would need a formal ‘permission to contact’ form. Saban said that did not need the form to contact other schools then told Smith that he would not and will be denied the release if he decided to attend an SEC school. The DB initially requested for a ‘permission to contact’ form from the school’s compliance department and Alabama denied, citing SEC rules.
Now, if I recall: Wide receiver Chris Black requested to transfer to Missouri, Saban accepted and it was in the middle of the season.
So, what's the difference with this one?
But the story doesn't stop there. Maurice Smith’s locker was cleaned out and personal belongings were trashed by unknown Alabama staff members and he was banned from the athletic facilities after learning that he wanted to be released.
Smith wrote a letter to Alabama’s appeal committee after the whirlwind of events happened and his mother released the letter to AJC.com stating that her son felt ‘ostracized’ by Alabama superiors and teammates for his intentions to transfer to UGA. He stated in the letter:
“On Friday, June 17, I arrived at the athletic facility locker room to find my locker cleaned out and all of my personal belongings in the trash (photo attached) underneath trash,” Smith wrote. “These personal items included my family photos, written goals, inspirational and sentimental items memorializing my deceased former friend, roommate and teammate, Altee Tenpenny, and items of personal value from my former teammates.”
Smith is set to graduate on Saturday from Alabama and ended the letter with saying this:
“Please do not punish my success and instead reward the efforts of discipline, and determination that UA requires in all of their student-athletes to succeed.”
Maurice Smith appeared in 24 games over the last three seasons with ‘Bama. He had 38 career tackles, 5 passes defended, 1.5 sacks and 2 tackles-for-losses.
Will this be a distraction to the Crimson Tide? This is not the end and it could possibly be a reevaluating situation for future recruits if they decide to transfer to UGA. Did Smart and Saban have sour end to their relationship that underlined the denial of Smith’s decision to transfer to join the ‘Dawgs?
We may be wondering this for a while because this situation just seems a little awkward being that the Chris Black’s transfer was smooth sailing to an SEC school but Smith cannot do the same.