BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Unless there is a special academic circumstance, Alabama coach Nick Saban feels he and other coaches are only following the rules when blocking potential transfers within the SEC.
Last week, AL.com reported that Alabama was blocking graduate transfer Brandon Kennedy from moving to another team in the league. Kennedy is seriously considering Tennessee, which is coached by former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
This is standard practice, even in Kennedy’s case as a graduate transfer, and not the first time Alabama blocking a transfer has become public.
Two seasons ago, Maurice Smith was initially blocked from transferring from Alabama to Georgia. Smith eventually won out, and played one season with the Bulldogs.
“We have an SEC rule about do we want to have free agency within our conference,” Saban said Wednesday ahead of teeing off at the Regions Pro Am golf tournament. “I think there are certain circumstances and situations where it may be better for the student-athlete. In those cases, I would be supportive of guys doing it. I’ve done it in the past, I’ve not done it in the past. But I do think this whole transfer thing is something we should look at more at a thousand feet. We don’t like to get put in the middle of these rules as coaches. I think none of us do.
“We have rules, but yet we’re not supposed to abide by the rules and they reflect poorly on us when we try to support the rules that we have. The rules that we have, we have for a reason and I just stated the reason. Do we want free agency in the SEC? Should guys be able to leave your team and go play for somebody else next year that you have to play against? I do feel that there are cases where that may be a viable option if it’s for academic reasons.”
Saban expects this to continue to be a hot topic on a national level, and believes it will be brought up at SEC meetings in Destin later this May.