As reported by Joshua Kinder of the Manhattan Mercury, Leticia Romero has learned that the university committee hearing her appeal of the school's denial of her request for a transfer waiver was denied. This leaves Romero with three options: remain at K-State, transfer and sit out while paying her own way, or going home to Spain.
Before getting into the indignant lecture, there are two minor points that do need to be brought up in the school's defense first, just so they're on the palate.
One: there may actually have been a valid reason to deny the request in the first place; for example, if the university has reason to believe that another school may be tampering with Romero, denying the request is entirely legitimate. Unfortunately, this is something we're liable to never know, as the university doesn't comment on any of this due to student privacy issues.
Two: comparisons have been made to the decision to release McKenna Treece from her National Letter of Intent, and those comparisons should be ignored. The NLI system is completely different than the system in place once an athlete is on campus and accepting financial aid, as is the school's investment in the two players.
This also presents an interesting lens to view the entire discussion of amateurism in college athletics, as we're not talking about a football player here. K-State's reasons for refusing Romero's transfer request have nothing whatsoever to do with money, except in the most abstract of terms.
And now that I've disclaimered you all to sleep...
In the absence of any valid justification for this decision, this is the most embarrassing event in recent K-State athletic history, probably only eclipsed within the last quarter-century by ContractGate. This was a situation where a player has a clear and indisputable hardship. Romero's status as an international player closes not one, not two, but three doors that would be open to any other player choosing to transfer: she cannot get student loans in this country (nobody will make a student loan to an international), she cannot simply work her way through the year of ineligibility (no work visa), and she can't even just hang around the US for a year until she can get on scholarship again (student visa requires, you know, studenting). Her only viable option to stay in the US and play college basketball, assuming she can afford the lesser expense, is to go enroll at a JUCO, play a year, and transfer back to Division I.
In short, holding the power to force Leti Romero to either stay at K-State or leave the United States like a whipped dog, the administration has chosen to use it. This school should have enough dignity to examine this situation and realize that allowing a player to leave under the circumstances in which Leti Romero now finds herself is something from which Kansas State can shrug off and move forward; Romero is a fantastic player, but the program can survive her departure.
This is unacceptable.
This is not what our university stands for.
This is not what K-State Proud is supposed to feel like.
We'll have more on this after the weekend, as TB has Things He Wants To Say too.