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Entitlement, Thy Name is Maurice

The problem isn’t Maurice wanting to go to UGA. It’s his believing he is entitled to do so.

NCAA Football: Alabama-A Day Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The drama surrounding Maurice Smith and his desire to transfer to Georgia has made national news and, predictably, most of the coverage and commentary has revolved around that cherished click magnet: the evil that is Nick Saban and the Alabama program.

Plenty has and will be written about the specifics. Yesterday, we discussed the rules that are in place and laid out the case for both sides. As noted, Alabama is well within its rights to deny Smith a waiver that will allow him to play immediately at Georgia, and Smith has the right to disagree with and even appeal the decision. That part is simple enough.

What I’d like to discuss today is a bigger issue that seems to be prevalent in our society as a whole: the culture of entitlement.

Maurice Smith, very likely under the advisement of his parents, signed what amounts to a unilateral contract with the University of Alabama back in 2013. Many have opined that the National Letter of Intent is unfair, a stance with which I may agree, but the reality is that he signed it. In doing so, he gave control over his college football career to the University in exchange for a full scholarship.

Now, for some unknown reason, he wants out of his contract.

Who among us hasn’t, at some point in our lives, signed a contract that we later regretted signing?

Maurice Smith’s mother going to the media reminds me of a middle school parent railing at the teacher for “giving” their child a well-earned F on a project. She fully believes that Maurice is somehow owed a release from the University, simply because the University made the decision to grant a release to another player under very different circumstances.

Sorry, Samyra. That’s not how it works.

The other player, Chris Black, came to Alabama as a blue chip prospect in the same class as current Oakland Raiders star Amari Cooper. In their first camp, Black was reportedly ahead of Cooper. Alabama fans were understandably excited to see what the pair could accomplish in Crimson.

Unfortunately, Black suffered a season ending shoulder injury before the season opener, the first of multiple injuries that derailed his career. As a result, he never saw significant playing time at Alabama. After earning his degree, knowing that playing time would be scarce in Tuscaloosa, he requested a waiver so that he could go to a program with less talent on the depth chart and have a chance to get on the field in his last season of eligibility, offering him a chance to catch the eye of an NFL scout. Since he had already taken a redshirt year, sitting for a year was not an option as it would have exhausted his eligibility. The University granted his request, as they should have.

Maurice Smith had no such issue. He received playing time as a true freshman, and played in every game as a sophomore and junior. At the Tide’s spring scrimmage going into his senior season, he was the starter at nickel cornerback. Smith acknowledges that Saban told him he was penciled in to start for Alabama, and that he would be released to any non-SEC school if he chose not to stay.

For whatever reason, this didn’t satisfy Maurice. Maurice not only wants, but clearly feels entitled, to be released so that he can try and start for Georgia instead. His mother is only perpetuating the entitlement.

Sorry, Maurice, you’re just going to have to tough it out by playing football at some premier college football program outside the conference, and continue to live out a dream of millions that so few will ever realize.

Sometimes, life is rough.