Alabama football plants a Trojan horse but Lane Kiffin isn't falling for it | Toppmeyer
Alabama has proposed extending the intraconference football transfer deadline with instant eligibility from Feb. 1 to May 1.
Now, you might be thinking: Given how often coaches and administrators complain about the rate of transfers, why would Alabama want to extend the period during which an SEC player may enter the transfer portal and jump to another conference school?
Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne said the proposal is motivated by wanting to create a consistent timeline with the NCAA.
Currently, for a football player to transfer from one SEC school to another, he must enter the portal by Feb. 1. However, the NCAA has a May 1 deadline that allows athletes to transfer to schools outside the conference, as long as they enter the portal by that date.
So, why shouldn't the SEC take Alabama's suggestion and be consistent with the NCAA?
Because that gives the Tide, and other elites, three more months to raid fellow SEC teams of talent.
This proposal is a crimson elephant in sheep's clothing.
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If Alabama determines during spring practice it could use some left tackle help, just sound the alarm and see whether Vanderbilt's best offensive lineman will answer the bell.
Lane Kiffin's appetite for adding transfers is unyielding, but he wasn't born yesterday. He's against players competing for one SEC team during spring practice and suiting up for a conference rival come fall.
"I would guess that (rule) is going to stay where it is," said Kiffin, Ole Miss' coach. "I think you open up a long time when your players can go.
"If that's open (for another three months) in the SEC, someone kind of joked they're not going to put their spring game on TV, because you're just saying, 'Hey, here's our best players. Come get them.' I think that is probably something that will stay, in my opinion."
Georgia hasn't added a single transfer this offseason, so, not surprisingly, count coach Kirby Smart among those disinterested in extending the intraconference transfer window to May 1.
"I prefer the way things currently are," Smart said. "I think it's tremendously difficult to go through three, four months of workouts and spring practice and then have your roster change within your conference."
South Carolina's Shane Beamer makes at least three coaches who are skeptical of Alabama's proposal.
"I thought (the current deadline) worked very well for us this year," Beamer said.
Ole Miss, LSU, Arkansas and South Carolina are among the teams that gobbled up the most transfers this offseason.
Alabama took a choosier approach. The Tide hunted for top-shelf quality and eschewed quantity by adding five transfers, all of whom could be starters.
Three of Alabama's additions – wide receiver Jermaine Burton (from Georgia), cornerback Eli Ricks (from LSU) and offensive lineman Tyler Steen (from Vanderbilt) – came from within the conference.
Those players had to be in the portal by Feb. 1, because of the SEC's current deadline.
If the deadline was May 1, how many more SEC transfers would the Tide have added?
Several within the SEC are unwilling to find out.
Blake Toppmeyer is an SEC Columnist for the USA TODAY Network. Email him at BToppmeyer@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.