MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas State University says it is not reconsidering a transfer request from a women's basketball player.
The school's denial of Leticia Romero's release has sparked national criticism. Many national sports commentators have weighed in, slamming the university for not allowing Romero to transfer to another school and be allowed to keep athletic scholarship support while she sits out a year. Without the release, she would have to pay her own way. It also was the topic of an in-depth piece that aired Wednesday on ESPN's "Outside the Lines."
Also Wednesday, the Kansas City Star reported on a confidential letter KSU Athletic Director John Currie sent to the vice president for student life, apparently asking K-State's appeals committee reconsider Romero's request. The Star reported that, in the letter, Currie said prior concerns about tampering by the former women's basketball coaching staff were eased and new coach Jeff Mittee was ready to move on without Romero.
In a statement issued Wednesday night, K-State clarified that the transfer request is not being reconsidered.
"Under university policy, the Appeals Committee's decision is final and binding, and there is no university procedure to reexamine one of those decisions. Thus, the university process concludes with the Appeals Committee's decision," Jeff Morris, KSU vice president for marketing wrote in the statement. "Also, the final and binding nature of these decisions does not allow for them to be overturned by university administrators."
Morris told 13 News on Thursday that Romero does have other options, including submitting a new transfer request that does not include the 94 schools on her original list.
K-State has granted releases from students athletes in the past. Earlier this month, former quarterback Daniel Sams was given a conditional release when he said he wanted to transfer to a school closer to family. His release allows him to contact any FCS school with the exception of Stephen F. Austin, which will be an opponent for the Wildcats in 2014, and no FBS school.
Romero was K-State's leading scorer, rebounder and assister last year as a freshman. She requested the release following the termination of former head coach Deb Patterson, who recruited Romero to K-State from Spain.
Romero’s attorney, Donald Jackson of The Sports Group in Montgomery, Ala., told The Wichita Eagle Thursday that his client will continue fighting for a release from her basketball scholarship and that she is prepared to take legal action against K-State.
Full statement from Jeffery Morris, Kansas State University vice president for communications and marketing:
Recent media reports may have created the impression that the university is reconsidering student athlete Leticia Romero's request for a transfer. The news reports are based on an apparent photo of a confidential letter from Athletic Director John Currie to Pat Bosco, vice president for student life at Kansas State University.
Under university policy, the Appeals Committee's decision is final and binding, and there is no university procedure to reexamine one of those decisions. Thus, the university process concludes with the Appeals Committee's decision. Also, the final and binding nature of these decisions does not allow for them to be overturned by university administrators.
The transfer release and appeal policy of the department of intercollegiate athletics is included in the handbook provided to every student athlete at Kansas State University:
Except for the most compelling of circumstances, which place an undue burden on the student athlete, it is the policy of the department of intercollegiate athletics not to grant a release for purposes of a transfer or provide the one-time transfer exception (NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168.10).
A scholarship student athlete who seeks a transfer from Kansas State University, to another institution for the purpose of continuing athletic participation at that institution, must receive a release from the director of athletics prior to contact with athletics representatives of other institutions (NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124). A student athlete may seek a release through the sport administrator of his/her team.
If a student's request for transfer is denied, the student will be notified in writing of his/her right to appeal (NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199.10.1) and the steps necessary to request the hearing. The hearing will take place in front of an Appeals Committee to be assembled by the vice president of student life and comprised of individuals from the institution's main campus and outside of athletics. The ruling of the Appeals Committee is final and binding.