K-State athletic director John Currie addresses athlete transfers

04/22/2014 11:02 AM

04/22/2014 4:40 PM

Kansas State athletic director John Currie said Tuesday that his department would deny an athlete transfer request if it had concerns about outside tampering or procedures not being followed.

While Currie, who made comments on his Twitter account, didn’t discuss a specific case, citing student privacy concerns, he said he was looking forward to speaking with ESPN’s Jay Bilas, who has criticized K-State for its handling of women’s basketball player Leticia Romero.

“National transfer issues are complex/need reform,” Currie said. “Student privacy prevents discussion of individual student issues. … Generally speaking, on RARE occasions that we have denied a student-athlete transfer release, it has been because of concerns about outside tampering, undue influence by third parties or procedures not being followed in an honest and forthright manner.”

Romero, a star guard, said Friday that an appeals committee denied her request for a transfer. She can still enroll at another school, but she won’t be eligible for an athletic scholarship for a year.

NCAA rules dictate that transfers must sit out a year before they can play at a new school, but they are only allowed to immediately receive financial aid if their previous school approves of the transfer by granting a scholarship release.

K-State’s athletic department denied Romero’s initial request to transfer, which she made after athletic director John Currie fired the coach she signed with, Deb Patterson, and hired Jeff Mittie as her replacement. Romero, of Las Palmas, Spain, decided her playing style wasn’t a good fit with her new coach.

Romero appealed that ruling before a committee Wednesday. She said the committee informed her that her transfer request had been denied Thursday morning. Upset by the news, she waited until Friday to share the verdict.

“My release has been denied,” Romero said. “My parents and I are still requesting some information from the university about my appeal hearing.”

Romero led the team with 14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 32.6 minutes per game last season as a freshman. She was chosen Big 12 freshman of the week four times.

She received 60 scholarship offers before choosing K-State, which she did in large part because of Patterson and former assistant/player Shalee Lehning.

K-State’s student-athlete handbook states that the school denies most transfer requests, except for circumstances “which place an undue burden on the student-athlete.”

Men’s basketball players Angel Rodriguez, Adrian Diaz and Michael Orris, however, were granted transfer requests last season. And incoming women’s basketball recruit McKenna Treece was granted a release from her letter of intent in the past few weeks. But K-State is fighting to keep Romero as it did with senior offensive lineman Manase Foketi and others in recent seasons.

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