Running back A.J. Turman wants to transfer from Georgia. That's not a huge surprise in and of itself. Turman hasn't carried the ball once in a game for the Bulldogs. He's struggled with nagging injuries and fallen behind the likes of Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Nick Chubb, and Brendan Douglas on the depth chart. A.J. Turman now wants to transfer somewhere closer to his home in Orlando, Florida where he can play. None of that is surprising, and I can't imagone most Bulldog fans wishing him anything but the best.
Kirby Smart likely also wishes Turman the best. But unlike Mark Richt before him, Smart's not giving Turman the green light to go anywhere he wants. See Smart talk more about his new policy here.
(Video courtesy of the Macon Telegraph)
I expect Bulldog fans to be somewhat torn over this. Smart is absolutely right that very few schools allow players to go anywhere they want. Mark Richt was a decided outlier in that regard over the past fifteen years in Athens. Richt allowed players to transfer wherever they wanted, including to the likes of LSU and Auburn, where they could end up playing against the 'Dawgs. Richt was fond of saying "life is too short" to stop kids from playing where they want to.
And perhaps he was right. But the fact remains that Mark Richt's generous transfer policy was seen by some fans as providing players a no strings attached way to get out of Athens when things got too tough. It also allowed multiple players to follow each other to greener pastures, including the group who went to the University of Louisville to play for Todd Grantham. It is easy to appreciate the generosity inherent in Richt's magnanimous stance on transfers, and there is a solid argument to be made that if the NCAA is going to profit from the labor of young men it ought to allow them to do the work wherever they damn well please.
Kirby Smart's job is to craft a transfer policy which is in the best interest of University of Georgia football. And I believe a solid argument can be made that that is what he is now doing. in theory I like the idea of a transfer policy which does not fetter young man in pursuing their dreams. On the other hand, the prior policy was yet another example of Georgia place itself at a specific competitive disadvantage in the name of general principle. Kirby Smart will have plenty of other opportunities to establish himself as a humanitarian. This policy is about closing the competition gap.