Big 12: Samson Szakacsy
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Colorado wide receiver Josh Smith now appears headed for USC after a Colorado transfer committee upheld a decision made by Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn and coach Dan Hawkins to grant Smith's release only to the Trojans.
Smith had appealed the school's decision to a three-member panel of Colorado faculty members to allow him to attend other schools from a group of eight to 10 potential transfer locations. But that group upheld the athletic department's decision, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.
"That would be final," Colorado assistant athletic director Julie Manning told the Camera of the panel's decision. "There is no other recourse for the student-athlete."
Smith's options now are limited to transferring to USC, paying his own way to transfer to another school or remaining at Colorado.
With the Buffaloes, Smith had emerged as the Buffaloes' top breakaway threats, where he set single-season school records last season with 50 kickoff returns for 1,286 yards as a sophomore. He also snagged 52 receptions for 838 yards in two seasons with the Buffaloes.
Smith had told Hawkins that he wants to leave Colorado because the school does not offer the music major he hopes to pursue. Those academic aims can be fulfilled by attending USC, Smith has said.
Playing time for the Trojans might be a different matter. Smith would have to sit out the 2009 season with hopes of joining the team next year. Seven of USC's eight receivers are either juniors or underclassmen, making his chances of getting much playing time problematic at best. It would also be closer to his Moorpark, Calif., home.
But kick returns might be a different matter. Smith's talents in the kicking game clearly would be attractive to any program.
Among the other schools where Smith has talked about attending is Arizona State, where he is a close friend with Sun Devils quarterback Samson Szakacsy. They spent time in the Phoenix area after the 2008 season recording tracks. Smith has announced he wants to pursue a musical career after producing rap demos and CDs since high school.
But if Smith wants to attend ASU with his friend, he would have to pay his own way to the school. Smith's cousin, heralded tailback Darrell Scott, has tried to talk him into remaining with the Buffaloes.
His chances of now staying with the Buffaloes might be more difficult because Hawkins is handling coaching the wide receiver position on his reconfigured coaching staff. And he made it clear in some comments to Denver radio station KKFN last week that he wants a commitment from players who are remaining on his roster.
"You can't lower your standards," Hawkins told the radio station. "At the end of the day, you need to be all-in or all-out."
Hawkins also lamented to the radio station an attitudinal change in athletes today compared to his own generation.
"Back when I played it wasn't the same type of environment," Hawkins told the radio station. "Nowadays you see a lot of guys transferring.
"If it's not always working out exactly like a guy wants, they go. The grass is always greener."
It will be interesting to see where Smith surfaces. His easiest option would be to remain at Colorado, but it will take bending on both sides to make that happen.
Posted at ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Josh Smith will be free to leave Colorado, but the Buffaloes' program will grant him a release only to play football at USC.
Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Camera reports that Smith had been considering eight to 10 schools, but Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn will allow him only to transfer and play with the Trojans.
Smith has appealed Bohn's decision to a committee that oversees such situations, and he should know within two weeks whether the committee will overrule Bohn.
The committee is mandated for all schools under NCAA bylaw 13-1-1-31 and is made up of personnel outside of the athletic department. Colorado's panel consists of three professors.
Smith wanted to leave Colorado in order to pursue educational training for a musical career. Since high school, Smith has been producing rap demos and CDs.
And one school he was interested in was Arizona State. Smith is a friend of Arizona State quarterback Samson Szakacsy and they have recorded tracks together in the Phoenix area. That association seemingly would provide Smith with a big ally in case he wanted to transfer to the Sun Devils' program.
In a sense, the Buffaloes are making it tough on Smith by dictating specific teams where he can play. His chances to play at USC seemingly would be slimmer than other schools because of the talent that is stockpiled in coach Pete Carroll's program.
Also, Colorado associate athletic director for compliance Julie Manning told the Camera that Smith could choose to remain at Colorado and the school would honor his scholarship.
Although Colorado has made an official news release where it was acknowledged that Smith was leaving, he could stay.
"Just because a young man wants to explore his options doesn't mean we close the door on him," Manning told the Camera.
Smith finished 10th nationally in all-purpose yards, so he would be an attractive candidate to transfer to many schools.
But it remains to be seen whether one of them might be USC.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Josh Smith apparently has decided that the career route to becoming the next Jay-Z or Fifty Cent can be furthered by attending a school other than Colorado.
Smith and tight end Ryan Wallace have announced they are leaving the school. The move snatches away one of Colorado's top receivers and a developing player in Wallace who many thought could turn into a serviceable Big 12 tight end.
Smith announced that he's leaving Colorado because he wants to pursue a musical career after producing rap demos and CDs since high school. Schools that have the music major he's interested in are Arizona State and USC.
Additionally, the Boulder Camera reported that Smith spent time in the Phoenix area with Arizona State quarterback Samson Szakacsy recording tracks. That seemingly would provide a neat entry into the Sun Devils program if Smith should choose to continue playing at his new school.
Smith's departure comes after he dropped on the team's depth chart over the spring. The Buffaloes aren't exactly loaded at the position and Smith was expected to challenge for a starting job this spring.
The other question will be how this affects the Buffaloes' relationship with heralded running back Darrell Scott, who is Smith's nephew.
Scott had a strong spring after struggling during his freshman season last year. He reportedly tried to talk Smith out of transferring.
And Wallace was listed at fifth-string on the Buffaloes' post-spring depth chart but was thought to have a good future with the program. He becomes the third member of the heralded 2008 recruiting class to leave Colorado, joining linebacker Lynn Katoa and wide receiver Chance Blackmon.
Colorado's biggest offensive weakness is its lack of breakaway threats. Smith is the team's best deep threat and top kickoff returner.
With a heavy ground-based attack, new offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau hopes to build more of a vertical play-action passing game. He already will be making a tough choice between quarterbacks Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen and taking away his best deep threat won't help the offense's productivity.
The Colorado offense ranked last in the Big 12 last season in total offense and scoring. Smith was a critical element in plans for coach Dan Hawkins, who vowed his team would "win 10 games with no excuses" this season after a disappointing 5-7 record last year.
Even with Smith's drop on the depth chart, it's still not a good situation for the Buffaloes or their ability to stretch the field with Smith leaving.