That this is even a question (okay, series of questions) summarizes the current sad state of affairs otherwise known as transfer rules.
What are the rules for other teams to recruit your walk-on players? With Stetson Bennett potentially leaving UGA how does a walk-on player like him see what options he has available with other programs? Are other schools able to actively reach out to him to gauge his interest and offer him a scholarship? Can we put restrictions on where he potentially transfers (i.e. not within the SEC)?
Stetson Bennett is a walk-on. He has no scholarship. He signed no national letter of intent. The carrot Kirby Smart offered to entice him to stick around Athens another year was the mere possibility of a future scholarship.
In short, the school owes Bennett nothing. And yet…
According to Will Lawler, UGA’s director of compliance, “another institution would have to receive permission to contact a walk-on student-athlete who has enrolled at UGA before making contact.” Lawler said there is more flexibility to contact potential walk-ons without permission prior to enrollment.
Also, there was this interesting caveat, which may apply to Bennett: “Generally speaking, a football transfer student-athlete would have to serve a year in residence if he transfers to another FBS institution unless he meets an exception to permit immediate eligibility. Exceptions are fact-specific and depend on a number of factors that must be evaluated by and in the context of the future institution (e.g., recruited status, participation in practice, sponsorship of sport, and many more).”
The tl;dr version of that? For all intents and purposes, minus Georgia’s consent, if Bennett transfers to another D-1 school, he’s treated as a walk-on about the same way he’d be if he were a star player on scholarship. “Generally speaking”, in other words, he’s just as fucked.
And some of you think I complain about this stuff too much. Jeebus.