Put this one down as a win for Leticia Romero, something the former Kansas State point guard hasn’t experienced since her fight for a release from the university began more than two months ago.
Romero can now have contact with Middle Tennessee State — for the second time on Thursday — thanks to the NCAA.
Romero learned through her attorney, Donald Jackson, Thursday afternoon that K-State had granted permission to Middle Tennessee State to have contact with her — not a release from her scholarship just yet — but the first step in the process.
The initial decision Thursday to allow contact came less than 24 hours after K-State released a statement saying the decision of its appeals committee in April denying Romero’s release is “final and binding,” and that not even school administrators could intervene to reverse the decision.
Yet, all of a sudden Romero was allowed to have contact the next day and with a school on her list of 94 programs she had interest in that she provided to K-State during the early stages of her transfer request.
But within hours after MTSU contacted Jackson to get Romero’s information, the school received another correspondence from K-State associate athletic director for compliance Lindsey Babcock informing it that the permission to contact had been retracted due to a “clerical error.”
Romero believes the error occurred when K-State realized Middle Tennessee State was on her initial list of schools she had interest in from the start — after permission to have contact had already been granted earlier in the day.
“K-State told me they couldn’t do anything with the schools on my list,” Romero said in an interview with The Mercury Thursday afternoon. “I think they released me to have contact with them and didn’t know they were on my list, but then found out and took it back.
“I thought if they could release me to one school on my list, there’s no reason to not release me to others. They did it. And that shows that they can do — they just don’t want to. The AD (John Currie) released me to that school today. So he can do it, because he did it, and then took it back.”
But after some research, Middle Tennessee State officials discovered once a release to contact is given to a school, it couldn’t be retracted.
“I just talked to Middle Tennessee,” Romero said in a text Thursday night. “They can contact me because they called the NCAA and the NCAA said once you give permission you can’t take it back.”
Romero was also released to a pair of low-majors recently — not on her list — and according to Jackson, has no desire to transfer within the Big 12 or attend Northern Colorado where the former K-State coaching staff is now employed.
A request to speak with Babcock today was denied due to student-athlete privacy laws.