We hope your three-day weekend, assuming you were blessed with such a thing, was pleasant. Now, however, it's time to get back to business, and if you've been away for the weekend you've got a lot of catching up to do.
"Catching up?" you ask? Why, yes. Because it's that time of year when BracketCat emerges from his burrow and starts churning out thousands of words. Indulge yourself with the start of his annual roster countdown, starting with Friday's piece on #99, Valentino Coleman, and moving on to Terrell Clinkscales on Saturday, Demonte Hood on Sunday, and Austin McCormick on Monday.
Kellis Robinett writes about incoming freshman center Dalton Risner, who's eager to spend 2014 learning from B.J. Finney.
Finally, over two weeks after the draft, there's an article which actually confirms that Marcus Heit did in fact head to Chiefs minicamp, as we very carefully sort-of reported the night of the draft. Oh, and there's other Chiefy stuff in there too.
Before getting to the main topic here, Blair Kerkhoff reported on something which we pretty much covered after Bob Bowlsby was interviewed the night of the Big 12 men's basketball championship game, and is now coming up again because the league's spring meetings start tomorrow, although Bowlsby didn't say anything to Kerkhoff that he hadn't already said publicly. (Not beating on Kerkhoff here, just stating a fact.) That subject: the future of the Big 12 men's and women's basketball tournaments, their sites, and whether they'll bring both tournaments together. Seems the women's administrators are pretty strongly pushing for that to happen.
I cannot promise that this will be the last time I bring this up, and I know a lot of you are sick to death of it, but the fact of the matter is that the end may be in sight finally, and I have a completely unfounded conspiracy theory to tack on for good measure. First, a list of the articles bashing K-State for the Romero situation published since Friday which turned up in a basic search: SB Nation's Georgia Tech blog, From the Rumble Seat, and Duke blog, Duke Basketball Report. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Rob Dauster at NBCSports.com. The Columbus Dispatch. Good lord, even Joe freakin' Posnanski's jumped on. And that's in addition to all the other stories we've linked to over the last few weeks (not to mention all the ones we didn't.)
In short, whether you wish to believe it or not, this has all been an utter embarrassment and a black eye -- made worse by the most recent news, which many of those reports linked above hit on after it was initially reported by Josh Kinder at the Mercury. K-State accidentally left Middle Tennessee State off the list of schools she couldn't talk to, which means that under NCAA rules Middle Tennessee State can now talk to her; since she wasn't denied permission to contact them within the seven-day period after her initial request, it's automatically granted.
Accidentally. A clerical error. Yet another bungled mishap in this entire sorry escapade.
So now, according to USA Today's Adam Sparks, Romero's planning a visit, and that means she's probably going to end up there unless she absolutely hates it. Of course, most of those stories report that "permission to contact" is not the same as "releasing" her from her scholarship, and draw the conclusion that this means she may not be able to transfer there. Perhaps even more terrifying is that one of her attorneys, who supposedly specializes in this sort of thing so you would think might have a grasp on how all this works, also thinks that's the situation.
Well, it's not. It's all garbage and misinformation, reported by people who don't understand how the system works. Once a school has permission to contact, that's it. There is no such thing as a release from a scholarship, as compliance expert John Infante has been helplessly screaming into the wind for months -- even before this saga began. And speaking of Infante, if you're disinclined to believe me on this, you can see what he has to say in the wake of the "clerical error". In short, if MTSU has permission to talk to Romero, she may accept a scholarship there immediately and K-State can't do a thing about it.
Of course, one may be forgiven for starting to wonder whether the "clerical error" was actually an error at all, or merely a means for the athletic department to let Leti go and still appear to be holding firm to their position. That position is understandable, as more level heads have reported, but especially in light of Currie's letter compromise has to be reached.
(I have another beef with the reporting on this issue as well. Most of these reporters are still piling all over Currie here when the real issue is further up the food chain. There are reporters actually arguing that Currie should do something which university policy doesn't allow him to do -- namely, go ahead and release her anyway -- and those reporters need to get a grip.)
In a perfect world, Leti Romero skittering off to Tennessee would be enough to make the press go away... but I have serious doubts as to whether that's going to happen now. It's one thing to stick to an unpopular decision involving an athlete in a marginal sport. It's another entirely to have the situation resolve itself because you goofed up and the media found out about it.
With any luck, Leti Romero will find that Murfreesboro, Tennessee appeals to her (or, more accurately, that the coaching staff at MTSU appeals to her). She'll move on, and we can all try to put this ludicrous escapade behind us.
More importantly, that'll mean that other than actually reporting that she's gone, I won't ever have to broach this subject again unless it's in the abstract, in the larger picture of NCAA reform. Because trust me, folks, I'm as sick of it as you are.