ATHENS — Kirby Smart and A.J. Turman were both hoping to put to rest the controversy over Turman’s transfer release. The national media, however, isn’t letting Smart off the hook.
Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, the co-hosts of ESPN’s national morning radio show “Mike and Mike,” which is simulcast on the television network, both ripped Smart for his restrictions on players going to Miami, where Mark Richt is now the head coach.
At one point, Greenberg pointed his finger at the camera and said “shame on you” to Smart.
“You’re scared of some 19-year-old kid going someplace, a guard who’s obviously barely playing for you and that’s why he wants to transfer in the first place or has whatever other reason to go someplace else,” Greenberg said during’s Wednesday’s show. “And you’re so terrified to allow him to go to someone you play on your schedule? Shame on you.”
The full clip of the segment can be seen here.
The background: Turman had no interest in following Richt and Thomas Brown (his position coach) to Miami. But Smart said he put in the restriction to “set the precedent for the future that kids would not be able to go to Miami right away.” (Smart also said nobody had yet come to him expressing a desire to transfer to Miami.)
It had been Georgia’s “stance” to let players transfer anywhere without restrictions, even to Georgia Tech, as tailback J.J. Green did last year. But athletics director Greg McGarity said he “adjusted” the stance after speaking with Smart.
Greenberg addressed the story about 30 minutes into Wednesday’s show.
“You’re making millions of dollars,” Greenberg said of Smart. “This is this kid’s one chance in life to play college football. He should be allowed to go wherever the hell he wants and for some coach to sit there and put restrictions on because he’s in the conference or on his schedule is a disgrace and it shouldn’t be allowed. Wake up, (NCAA president) Mark Emmert and tell schools they can’t do that. That’s the first thing they should do, it’s a disgrace.
“I yelled at (former Wisconsin men’s basketball head coach) Bo Ryan years ago and he’s never spoken to me since, and I don’t care. And Kirby Smart may never speak to me again and I don’t care. This is a disgrace, an absolute disgrace. If a kid decides for whatever reason he wants to go from one school to another, to play football or anything else he should be allowed to. It’s his one chance in life. You got to take whatever job you want and get paid millions of dollars. This is an absolute disgrace.”
Golic then chimed in, saying “the optics of it are just horrific,” because Smart and other coaches are allowed to move from job to job.
“Kirby Smart, he looks bad in this,” Golic said.
Golic, former Notre Dame and NFL player, went on to say that the “biggest thing out there” is that players, in his opinion, choose more based on coaches than schools.
“They (the NCAA) want the athlete to pick the school for the school. Well let me tell you (what) the reality is: Ninety percent of them don’t. They pick it for the coach. That’s the reality. But if all of a sudden you get guys transferring to follow their coach everybody’s going to see that. And they don’t want to see that, that he left for the coach, they want everyone to go for the school. …
“There are good schools everywhere you want to go for the academic part of it. But this is their one chance to play college football. If it leads to somewhere great, if not it’s their one chance to play college, so what’s wrong with them wanting to put themselves in the best position they can? So what if someone went there with Mark Richt, and wants to go where he went? So what, why should it matter to you? …
“They’ve already got to sit out a year. So if they want to follow the coach to the U so what if they want to do that? To deny them that is an absolute joke.”