Alabama defends decision to block Smith's Georgia transfer

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama is defending its decision to block defensive back Maurice Smith's transfer to Georgia.

Smith, who has graduated, sought a release from his scholarship entering his final season. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban blocked his transfer to Southeastern Conference schools.

The statement released through media relations Thursday says Alabama officials ''remain happy to assist Maurice to enable a transfer to any non-SEC school, and have been doing everything requested regarding that throughout this process.''

The statement noted that wide receiver Chris Black was allowed to transfer to Missouri after he had surgery in the middle of last season and left the program. Black's scholarship had not been renewed. Alabama said the decision to support a waiver from the SEC in Black's case ''was the exception and not the rule.''