The Maurice Smith transfer saga is over, and he will join the Georgia football team this weekend.
For that, Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart is very grateful.
“I want to express appreciation to Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey for granting the waiver which will allow Maurice Smith to pursue his dreams at the University of Georgia as a graduate transfer,” Smart said in a release distributed by the school. “This has been a difficult situation to navigate and we are grateful to all who have been involved in bringing it to a resolution. Now that it is behind us, we are all anxious to move forward.”
Smith was granted a “conditional” waiver by the SEC in his request to transfer from Alabama to Georgia, and thus will be eligible to play right away. But the conference did add stipulations.
Smith and his family were awaiting the decision at home in Sugar Land, Texas, and Smith was expected to fly to Athens right away.
This fall semester, the SEC rules say, Smith must take nine credits towards his stated degree — Public Health — or he would not be eligible to play in the postseason. Long-term, Smith must receive his graduate degree within two years — the 2018-19 academic year — or Georgia cannot request similar waivers for three years, or until Smith graduates.
“Maurice has clearly and passionately stated his desire for a graduate degree in Public Health,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement, also saying: “I found, among other contributing factors, that a student-athlete who graduates in three years and exhibits a strong commitment to his or her academic future provides compelling motivation to help them achieve their goals on and off the field.”