MANHATTAN – If Leticia Romero chooses to transfer away from Kansas State, she will have to do so without the university’s blessing.
Romero, a star guard on the Wildcats’ women’s basketball team, said Friday that an appeals committee led by K-State Vice President of Student Life Pat Bosco 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 if she does.
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. She then appealed that ruling before a committee on 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 in scoring (14.2 points), rebounds (5.8), assists (4.9) and minutes (32.6) last season as a freshman. She was chosen Big 12 Freshman of the Week four times.
Romero received 60 scholarship offers before choosing K-State, which she did in large part because of Patterson and former assistant/player Shalee Lehning.
Currie and other K-State officials have declined comment on the matter, citing university policy. 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.”
What complicates that stance is that K-State doesn’t fight every transfer. The men’s basketball team granted transfer releases for Angel Rodriguez, Adrian Diaz and Michael Orris last season. And the women’s basketball team granted incoming recruit McKenna Treece a release from her letter of intent in the past few weeks. But they are fighting to keep Romero the same way the football team did with senior offensive lineman Manase Foketi and others in recent seasons.
Romero isn’t sure what she will do next, but she has options. Romero could remain at K-State and try playing for a new coaching staff. She could transfer to a new school and pay her own way for a year, though she has said that would put a heavy financial burden on herself and her family living overseas. Or she could move back to Spain and pursue a professional basketball career.
“I don't want to make any more comments on that for now,” Romero said.