For more than a month the Kansas State athletic department refused to grant guard Leticia Romero’s request to be released from her scholarship, citing concerns about members from the previous coaching staff using her status in order to gain employment at another school. However as the month progressed and criticism grew, athletic director John Currie had a change of heart, writing a letter to the school’s appeals committee on Romero’s behalf.
But the group did not reverse its decision to deny Romero’s appeal, stating that it’s verdict was final.
Something changed between that point in time and today, with Kansas State announcing Tuesday that Romero will be released from her scholarship and is now free to transfer to any school not in the Big 12. It’s about time.
“We appreciate the support of K-State fans during this time and wish Leticia all the best in her future pursuits,” Currie said in a statement released by the school.
Romero would have been free to transfer to another school without the release, but she would not have have been able to receive a scholarship. A native of the Canary Islands, Romero joined the program due to the presence of then-head coach Deb Patterson and decided to leave after the coaching staff was not retained.
According to GoPowercat.com Tuesday’s announcement comes as a result of the school modifying its institutional policy regarding transfers. Was this really the case? Or did the amount of criticism the school received over the last month-plus lead to the move to grant Romero’s request to be released?
Regardless of what the answer is it doesn’t do a school much good to hold onto a player who doesn’t want to be a part of the program. And in cases of “tampering,” the presence of actual proof should be necessary.
Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.
Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.
“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.
“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”
Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.
This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.
Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.
“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.
This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.
He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.
The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.