Alabama defensive back Maurice Smith claims that his locker was cleared out and his personal items were thrown in the trash after he informed the school of his decision to transfer, according to a letter written by Smith that was obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Smith, who wrote the letter on July 1 to the Alabama appeal committee, stated that he was no longer allowed in the athletic facilities and among the personal items thrown out were "my family photos, written goals, inspirational and sentimental items memorializing my deceased former friend, roommate and teammate, Altee Tenpenny, and items of personal value from my former teammates."
Smith, a senior who has started two games in his career, is seeking to transfer to Georgia. Since he is a graduate student, he would not be required to sit out a year to regain eligibility.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said he is blocking the transfer due to a policy prohibiting transferring within the conference. However, Saban did nothing to stop the transfer of former Alabama wide receiver Chris Black to Missouri earlier this year.
Smith's mother, Samyra Smith, told the AJC that she didn't know why Saban was standing in the way of her son going to Georgia. Former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is entering his first season as head coach of the Bulldogs.
"I don't know what it is," she said. "You just had a player leave, Chris Black, and he's at an SEC school, Mizzou. So don't tell me it's about a violation of rules. I can read you the rules. I understand them well. It's not a violation of rules, or else the SEC would've stopped it, the commissioner would've stopped it. But it's allowed."
In a statement released Thursday, Alabama said the transfer of Black to Missouri "occurred only because of unique circumstances."
"[Black] elected to have surgery in the middle of the season and left the program," Alabama said. "Because of the timing of his departure, his scholarship was not renewed, and he requested to use the graduate transfer exception through the SEC. Our decision in this situation to support the SEC waiver was the exception and not the rule.
"We adhere to the SEC and institutional policies regarding issues of this manner. Waivers are not provided without compelling circumstances that present clear non-athletics reasons for the transfer. We remain happy to assist Maurice to enable a transfer to any non-SEC school, and have been doing everything requested regarding that throughout this process."
Saban said at media days last month that he and the staff told Smith that he would be a significant contributor to the team, should he decide to stay. During the spring, Smith, a native of Sugar Land, Texas, worked with the first-team defense at nickel back.
According to the AJC, Smith initially told Saban that, since he would not be released to an SEC school, he would transfer to Miami, which the coach agreed to. Smith, however, changed his mind and decided to pursue a transfer to Georgia.
"I felt confused and unfairly treated and did not pursue the release to UM," Smith wrote, according to the AJC. "Although things appeared hopeless, I communicated with my parents who told me to follow my heart and if UGA was where I felt I would have success, I should not back down and should pursue it."
He added: "As it stands, the recent actions of the UA athletic staff have already sealed their intention to no longer include me as a part of the team. Their actions have demonstrated their non-renewal of aid whether intentional or non-intentional, it is not par for the course and sends a clear message that the rights and privileges that are extended per the aid received as a student-athlete of the University of Alabama, no longer apply to me."