KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Not even John Currie can save Leticia Romero now.
Romero, the freshman Kansas State women’s basketball player whose request for a transfer has become another national flashpoint in an already sensitive climate for student-athlete rights, will not see the denial of her case reconsidered through university channels, the school confirmed in a statement late Wednesday night.
The latest twist to the Romero saga came despite a reported appeal earlier this month from Currie, the Wildcats’ athletic director, to K-State officials asking for the point guard to receive a conditional release from her scholarship.
"There is no university procedure to re-examine one of those decisions," K-State vice president Jeffrey Morris said in a statement. "Thus, the university process concludes with the Appeals Committee’s decision. Also, the final and binding nature of these decisions does not allow them to be overturned by university administrators."
Romero, a native of Las Palmas, Spain, led the Wildcats this past season in scoring (14.2 points), rebounds (5.8) and assists (4.9). When coach Deb Patterson was fired and replaced by former TCU coach Jeff Mittie, the K-State star requested a transfer. That request was initially denied by the athletic department, as was an appeal heard on April 16.
Romero can enroll at another NCAA school, but at her own cost; she won’t be eligible for an athletic scholarship until a year has passed. The Spaniard has hired an attorney and might seek legal recourse.
K-State granted football player Daniel Sams a conditional release from his scholarship earlier this month. Among the schools Sams cannot consider are Stephen F. Austin, the Wildcats’ first opponent in the fall of 2014.
When news of Romero’s situation became a national story last month, Currie went to Twitter to explain the university’s denial, implying that Romero might have been tampered with or influenced by Patterson or other former Wildcat coaches. According to the Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury, Romero submitted a list to K-State officials of 94 programs she would be interested in joining.
Patterson and three other former K-State coaches are now on the staff at Northern Colorado. As reported by the Mercury, Northern Colorado was not among the 94 schools on Romero’s initial list.
Currie earlier this month reportedly wrote a letter to Pat Bosco, K-State’s vice president of student life, to ask that it reconsider Romero’s denial, saying that he had new information on her case, and "although it is unprecedented, I believe that it is in the student-athlete’s best interest for the committee to reconvene to consider this new information and potentially approve her request for a conditional transfer release."
It didn’t. And it won’t. Now the ball, as they say, is back in Romero’s court.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter at @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.