A week after blocking a potential graduate transfer move from his program to another Southeastern Conference school, Alabama football coach Nick Saban lamented that implementing the longstanding SEC rule has become a point of controversy.
“We have an SEC rule about 'Do we want to have free agency within our conference?” Saban said Wednesday in a brief media interaction reported by SECCountry.com before teeing off in the Regions Pro Am golf tournament in Birmingham, Ala. “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."
Last week, AL.com reported that redshirt sophomore Brandon Kennedy's request to contact Auburn and Tennessee had been denied. Kennedy, who was listed as a backup center on the Tide's spring game depth chart is appealing the decision. Two years ago, running back Maurice Smith was initially blocked by the Tide from transferring to Georgia, but Alabama and the SEC later OK'd the move.
“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," Saban told SECCountry.com. "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.”