AP Source: Alabama grants Smith release to transfer

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) Alabama has cleared the way for defensive back Maurice Smith to transfer within the Southeastern Conference, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.

Speaking on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the school hasn't disclosed the information, the person said Alabama has granted Smith's release. The Tuscaloosa News first reported the decision.

Smith will have to be granted a waiver from the SEC, which has restrictions on athletes transferring to league schools with less than two years of eligibility remaining, including graduate transfers. Smith graduated earlier this month.

He has been trying to follow former Alabama assistants Kirby Smart and Mel Tucker to Georgia but was blocked from moving to another SEC school.

A statement from the SEC said the league doesn't comment on such waiver requests but they are reviewed on an individual basis.

''The SEC does not provide waivers of SEC rules absent circumstances that demonstrate a clear reason for granting an exception to those rules,'' the league statement said. ''Each waiver request is reviewed on a case by case basis.''

The requirements for granting of a waiver include that the athlete's athletic scholarship was not renewed.

After Wednesday's practice, head coach Nick Saban said Alabama had done everything it could ''to allow the conference to make the decision about whatever they decide is in the best interest of the conference and the SEC rules relative to Maurice Smith.''

''So that is past us now,'' Saban said. ''It is beyond us. We don't really need to talk about that anymore and I don't have any other comments to make about it.''

Smith was a first-team nickel back for the Tide during the spring. He played in every game last season, making 15 tackles.

Smart disagreed with the decision of his former boss to block Smith's transfer. The Bulldogs coach has said that he would ''absolutely'' support a graduate transfer's right to transfer to another SEC school.

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