Other than a football playoff, no topic has gotten the college sports world buzzing these last few months quite like the NCAA’s outdated- and at times unfair- transfer policy. The story hit home in college football circles when Tennessee coach Derek Dooley played a tug-of-war with receiver DeAnthony Arnett earlier this winter, and became a national story in basketball, when Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan went toe-to-toe with forward Jared Uthoff, before eventually granting the forward a mostly unconditional release.
Despite all the hoopla surrounding the rule, there’s still one man who seems to have some sanity left, and who seems willing to let common-sense prevail on the subject of players leaving his program. That man? The guy who has possibly dealt with more transfers than anyone in college football over the last few years, Georgia head football coach Mark Richt.
Apparently, not only is Richt willing to work with his players overall, but basically allows them to transfer wherever the heck they feel like playing, regardless of whether that school is a future Bulldogs opponent or not. If you want out of Georgia, Mark Richt makes no restrictions.
Here’s what he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Michael Carvell:
“First of all, I think life is too short,” Richt explained. “I want every young man to have a successful time in his four- or five-year window to be able to go to college. So I don’t want to impede a guy from realizing his goals and his dreams, wherever it is.
“I want our guys to stay [at Georgia], and sometimes when they do choose to leave, I still like the kid and I still want the kid to have success. If he thinks he will have success at a school you compete against, then so be it.”
Maybe the most incredible thing about that quote is that few- if any- college football head coaches have dealt with more players leaving their program than Richt has in the past few years. Some, like Logan Gray (Colorado) transferred because of playing time, others, like Washaun Ealey (Georgia Southern) left after run-ins with Richt himself, but it seems like more than any other program, Georgia is always dealing with some kind of roster attrition. According to this earlier AJC article, there are eight players who would’ve had eligibility for the fall of 2012 who’ve elected to instead continue their college careers somewhere. That number would be significantly higher if we included the last few years as well.
Still, given everything that we’ve read over these past few weeks, Richt’s stance truly is a breath of fresh air. We already mentioned when Bo Ryan made national headlines earlier this winter, when he restricted Uthoff’s transfer request to over two dozen schools, including a handful in the ACC that weren’t even on the Badgers schedule. Dooley did something similar, initially refusing to let Arnett- a Michigan native- try and transfer to Michigan or Michigan State to be closer to his family there. As was the case with Ryan, cooler heads prevailed, and Arnett is now at Michigan State.
What’s maybe most incredible though is that not only is Richt willing to let his players transfer to schools that are on UGA’s schedule, but according to the AJC, he has actually placed called to fellow SEC coaches to help try and place kids there.
Crazy, but true. Richt told the newspaper:
“You know, I don’t mind doing things like that,” Richt said. “The bottom line is this: When we recruit a guy, we want him to be at Georgia. We want him to have success. We want him to enjoy his experience.
Of course with all that said, don’t feel too bad for Richt either, since he has been on the “right” side of the transfer rule plenty himself.
As a matter of fact, there is some guy on Georgia’s roster who transferred in last year and had a pretty big impact on the Bulldogs season.
That player? Jarvis Jones, a first-team All-American. Ever heard of him?
For all his opinion, insights and more on college football, follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.