Saturday, November 28, 2015

K-State rejects Romero’s appeal for release

Leti Romero’s latest attempt to gain her release from Kansas State has been denied.

Romero appeared before a university appeals committee on Wednesday to request a release from her scholarship, which would have allowed the All-Big 12 point guard to transfer to another school and begin receiving immediate scholarship aide for the required year she would have to sit out under NCAA transfer rules.

The decision of the appeal committee is final, according to the K-State student-athlete handbook.

“My release has been denied,” Romero said in a text to The Mercury Friday afternoon. “My parents and I are still requesting some information from the university about my appeal hearing.” Romero had no further comment.

The initial request Romero made for a release was denied, pursuant to K-State’s policy that states, “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.”

A four-time Big 12 Freshman of the Week this past season, Romero said she should be granted her release because the coaching staff that recruited her to K-State was fired following the Big 12 tournament. Romero described her treatment by K-State during this process as “blackmail,” saying she was presented a deal to stay another season and that if she still wanted to transfer after that, she would be granted a release.

“They said they offered the same thing to Angel (Rodriguez) of the men’s team,” Romero told The Mercury this past week. “If I would stay another year and still didn’t want to play for K-State anymore they will give me a release without a problem, but not this year.

“They said you have two options. You can stay another year and get your release and you won’t have to pay for your scholarship or you can go to the committee and try to win it. I think that’s blackmail.”

Though Romero did not win her appeal for a release, K-State did release incoming signee McKenna Treece from her National Letter of Intent, allowing the St. Peters, Mo., three-star forward to sign at another school.

Romero still has options. She can transfer. K-State cannot prevent her from leaving, but she would have to forfeit any scholarship opportunity and pay her own way for the year she is required to sit out under NCAA transfer rules, something Romero has said is not an option for her family in Las Palmas, Spain.

Because Romero has not been released from her scholarship at K-State, she faces no restrictions or blocks to certain universities. If she chose to go somewhere within the Big 12, however, she would have to sit out two years and not just the one required at all other schools.

But one option would be for Romero to transfer to a junior college for a year where she could play immediately and receive scholarship aid and then transfer to any school of her choosing, including another Big 12 school with no restrictions.

Leading the Wildcats in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals last season, Romero could also decide to remain at K-State and play under new head coach Jeff Mittie. She could also pursue a professional basketball career back home in Spain.

K-State sports information director Kenny Lannou released a statement following the appeals hearing on Wednesday afternoon saying school officials “are not at liberty to discuss institutional matters related to student privacy.”


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