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Thursday, May 22, 2014
Updated: May 24, 3:21 AM ET
K-State sticking by Romero decision

ESPN.com news services

Kansas State is standing by its controversial decision to deny a transfer request for talented guard Leticia Romero in a case that has drawn national interest.

Romero, an All-Big 12 freshman from Spain, sought a release from her scholarship after the school fired Deb Patterson, the coach who had recruited her. Once denied, she took her case before an appeals committee last month that also turned down her request without providing a reason.

In a letter that surfaced Wednesday, it looked as if Romero's request could be reconsidered, as athletic director John Currie indicated he was concerned that there was tampering involved with Romero's decision to leave the school, and that members of the former staff members may have been "shopping" her in return for coaching positions.

But Kansas State vice president Jeffrey Morris maintained in a statement late Wednesday that the appeals committee's ruling is "final and binding, and there is no university procedure to re-examine one of those decisions.

"Thus, the university process concludes with the appeals committee's decision. Also, the final and binding nature of these decisions does not allow for them to be overturned by university administrators."

Leticia Romero
With a release, Leticia Romero could transfer to a D-I school and receive scholarship money while sitting out the required year. Without the release, she would have to pay all her own expenses that year.

Kansas State's policy states that "except for the most compelling of circumstances, which place an undue burden on the student athlete, it is the policy of the department of intercollegiate athletics not to grant a release for the purposes of a transfer or provide the one-time transfer exception."

Patterson and former assistants Kamie Ethridge, Kelly Moylan and Shalee Lehning have since been hired by Northern Colorado, with Ethridge to serve as the head coach of the program.

Currie told university administrator Pat Bosco in the letter, seen by ESPN's "Outside the Lines," that he spoke at length with Romero about the tampering concerns and "she was direct that this was not the case." Romero also told Currie she was not going to Northern Colorado.

Currie also said that he spoke with new Kansas State coach Jeff Mittie, and that Mittie believed it would be in the best interests of the program if Romero was allowed to transfer.

"Although it is unprecedented," Currie wrote, "I believe that it is in this 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."

Romero averaged a team-leading 14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists last season, the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal season. The Wildcats finished 11-19 overall, 5-13 in the Big 12, and lost in overtime to rival Kansas in the conference tournament.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.