When it comes to college athletes transferring, restrictions can vary by school, conference and sport.
Georgia ran up against that recently when it sought permission to speak to Robert Carter and was denied by Georgia Tech after the basketball player decided to seek a transfer.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity spoke with Georgia Tech counterpart Mike Bobinski, who explained the Yellow Jackets have a policy that the school won’t release a player to another Atlantic Coast Conference school, Georgia or schools that are on the schedule.
Similar restrictions aren’t so rare.
The Athens Banner-Herald asked for the transfer policies at each SEC and ACC school. Nineteen of the 29 schools responded to the request.
Mississippi State, Missouri and Tennessee said they typically don’t grant releases to transfer to other SEC schools, but say that’s on a case-by-case basis. Tennessee and Missouri also usually won’t grant a release to a team on an upcoming schedule.
Clemson restricts those seeking a transfer from speaking to rival South Carolina and other schools may be added by a coach, but permission to contact may be appealed to the faculty athletic representative.
Georgia’s policy is to give unconditional releases to any player who seeks a transfer, McGarity said.
“I’ve always felt like life is too short and if a young person and their parents want to go in a different direction, they should be able to. Obviously, the alternative is people are making that for competitive reasons, but I’ve never really used that as a reason for stopping a young person from achieving their dreams and their goals and their desires. They have a very short window, a four or five-year window.”
Georgia had released signee Daniel Miller to go to Georgia Tech after basketball coach Mark Fox was hired after a coaching change.
“We just agreed to disagree,” McGarity said of his conversation with Bobinski. “With all discussion there is in college athletics right now about our current state of athletics, personally I think it’s the right thing to do.”
If there was evidence of another school tampering, that could “cloud the issue,” McGarity said, but that hasn’t happened in his nearly four years as Georgia athletic director.
Georgia Tech’s policy was in place when golfer Nick Cassini transferred from Georgia Tech to Georgia in 1997, Bulldogs golf coach Chris Haack said.
Cassini had to sit out a year.
“I have always released guys no matter what and that was something I learned years ago from coach (Vince) Dooley,” Haack said of the former Georgia football coach and athletic director. “I can remember talking to him about it when it first happened years ago and he basically told me, ‘Chris if there’s a guy here and he’s not happy and wants to go somewhere else,’ you don’t want him around anyway.’”
Cornerback Shaq Wiggins made the jump from the SEC to soon-to-be ACC member Louisville last week, signing with the Cardinals after seeking transfer from Georgia earlier this month. Wiggins will sit out the 2014 season.
LSU leaves transfer restrictions up to the coach with the consultation of the administration.
Six schools contacted said they had no policy on transfer restrictions or evaluated those on a case-by case basis.
“Our policy has basically been let our coaches make that determination,” said Alabama athletic director Bill Battle, a former head football coach at Tennessee. “That’s the way it was back a long time ago when I was in it. I think it’s worked pretty well over the years. Whether it needs to change, I’m not sure. I don’t have a feeling one way or another.”
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