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Georgia coach Kirby Smart opens up on tampering in college football

College football is changing in so many ways, but none more than the advent of the transfer portal with immediate eligibility and the new NIL landscape.

Transfers and NIL have created a tidal wave of issues for programs and coaches, whose recruiting efforts now practically extend to their own roster each year in addition to attracting outside talent via the portal and the recruiting trail.

One issue coaches have is the prevalence of alleged tampering. Georgia football coach Kirby Smart opened up about the practice when speaking with Paul Finebaum.

Kirby speaks out

"I don't believe there's as much tampering as people think," Smart told Finebaum. 

"There are kids who grow up thinking, 'If it doesn't work out here, I should go somewhere else.' Tampering comes from the player searching somewhere else, not from a coach reaching out. 

"Look, I've had kids reach out to me from other programs and call and say things, and you can't talk to them. I know it happens from our place out and from other places. 

"I don't worry as much about tampering as I do about: Are we doing the right thing for the kids when they have adversity or things are tough?"

Georgia and Kirby Smart have been on both sides of the transfer portal. Smart added former Clemson defensive back Derion Kendrick last offseason, but also lost No. 1 receiver Jermaine Burton to Alabama this year after winning the College Football Playoff national championship.

Tampering has become a major issue this offseason in at least two prominent cases.

One, when Louisville coach Scott Satterfield alleged that Alabama may have tampered in recruiting transfer wide receiver Tyler Harrell. And another, when reports emerged that Pitt officials complained that USC intervened improperly to lure reigning Biletnikoff wide receiver Jordan Addison into the transfer portal.

Last offseason, the NCAA announced that players will be able to transfer to another school and keep their immediate eligibility if they enter before May 1.

The new rule has resulted in a wave of thousands of college football players electing to transfer elsewhere, including several high-profile skill position players, often with the hope of landing more lucrative NIL deals for themselves.


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