Kansas State athletic director John Currie broke his silence on Tuesday and addressed the university’s transfer policy in a series of tweets aimed at defending K-State’s decision not to grant a release to All-Big 12 point guard Leti Romero.
Currie spoke in general terms on his twitter account as a response to multiple tweets in the last week from ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, who stands firm in his belief that the freshman should be granted her release from K-State after the firing of head coach Deb Patterson.
Romero, who led the Wildcats in scoring, rebounds and assists this past season, was denied her initial request for a release, a decision that was then upheld by a university appeals committee late last week.
According to K-State’s student-athlete handbook, “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.”
Until now, K-State’s official comment had been nothing more than a no comment due to student privacy laws. But Romero’s case quickly gained national attention last week and K-State has become the target of several national media pundits — including Bilas and Dick Vitale — who believe the university has mishandled the matter.
“Good for K-State recruits to note — KSU handbook says it will deny most transfers,” Bilas tweeted Tuesday morning. “EWAH — Every Wildcat A Hostage?”
Currie responded that he was looking forward to sitting down and speaking with Bilas.
“National transfer issues are complex/need reform,” Currie tweeted. “Student privacy prevents discussion of individual student issues. As AD I have an obligation to all our (student-athletes) and institution to ensure department and university procedures are followed.
“Generally speaking, on RARE occasions that we have denied a student-athlete transfer release it has been because of concerns about outside tampering, undue influence by third parties or procedures not being followed in an honest and forthright manner.”
Romero can still choose to leave K-State without the release, but would have to pay her own way during the year she is required to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules. One option would be for Romero to transfer to a junior college where she could play right away with scholarship aid and then return to the Division-I level as a junior to any school of her choosing.
A release would allow Romero to earn a scholarship immediately at a new school. The decision of the appeals committee is considered final, however, according to the K-State student-athlete handbook.