Swish Appeal caught up with Leticia Romero to discuss her transfer request that Kansas State has denied without an explanation, leading to a frustrating battle that has garnered national attention.
Swish Appeal: How are you doing, Leti?
Leticia Romero: “I’m OK, it’s been frustrating – it’s been a long process.”
SA: When did you start thinking about transferring?
LR: “After the coaching change, I didn’t know what to do. I was really – I didn’t know what was going to happen, so I decided to wait and see who was going to be the new head coach. I met with the new head coach (Jeff Mittie), I practiced, but I just didn’t like it – I wasn’t feeling happy there, and I didn’t see myself there for three more years, it was a big change. Everything changed suddenly, and I didn’t want to be at Kansas State anymore.”
SA: Do you feel that the administration hasn’t been upfront with you and has sent you mixed messages?
LR: “I think I did everything I was supposed to do to seek my release, and I went there and I told them that I wanted to leave, they denied me. I decided to appeal, that’s what you can do after you’re denied, so I did – I went to the committee and I explained myself. I did everything I was supposed to do, and they kept denying me. The frustrating thing was that I wasn’t told a reason why. I never knew why they weren’t giving me a release – that was the main thing. I was kind of lost on what to do, and I really didn’t know what the reasons why they were denying me the release.”
SA: From your standpoint, how tough has it been that Kansas State AD John Currie didn’t even meet with you until recently – to hear things from your side and perspective?
LR: “I have never been in a position like this before, so I didn’t know how the process was supposed to be or who I had to reach out to or anything. Well, I think now in order to make a decision of denying a release, you have to know the facts. Nobody met with me, nobody asked me besides the committee. And, I was denied without anyone from the administration asking me any questions – it doesn’t make sense to me.
SA: How unfair do you feel you’ve been treated — because, there’s players transferring left and right with no problems?
LR: “Yeah (sigh), I don’t understand. I see players transferring without problems – even recently players have requested transfers and they immediately have their release. And, I think my reason is fair enough to warrant a transfer. What frustrates me the most is that I’m being denied without reason. It’s just frustrating, and I’m in a position where I don’t know what to do. I would like to keep playing and move on and play at another school – a school that I like. I can’t even contact schools, it’s frustrating with how my situation is now as I’m about to leave for Spain, I would like to know what I’m going to before leaving. For me, there’s a lot of urgency right now – I don’t know what to do.”
SA: Being so far away from home, do you think the administration at Kansas State is taking advantage of that fact?
LR: “I think that in some way, yes. If I was an American kid with my parents here, they would have been able to come to the committee hearings, and be in every meeting with me. It’s just hard to do it all by yourself, to meet with strangers and you don’t know if they are taking you serious, you know? You don’t know what’s going on; you are just trying to go play somewhere else with no problem. You know inside there’s no tampering, not anything, it’s just you making a decision because you feel you are not happy in the place you are. You just want to have the opportunity to play somewhere else. And, I thought that was fair, and then I found so many problems – and people assuming things, not believing me. That’s frustrating, especially being so far away from home and nobody asks you anything, they just assume things – it’s just hard.”
SA: Elaborate on the emotional drain of this whole ordeal?
LR: “I think the hardest part was actually making the decision (to transfer). It was really hard for me to leave this program; I was really excited last year. When I came to Kansas State last year, I was super excited to come. I had a lot of fun; I enjoyed a lot of things this season. Even though the season wasn’t the best season we could have, but I know we were going to be good next year and I was really excited.
The hardest part was finding out that those coaches that I came for were going to be gone – that was the hardest part. And then finding myself kind of lost, and not having the support that I had – just not feeling well and being homesick, those things were hard. Making the decision to leave was hard. After making the decision, all the problems, I think that it has made me strong. I know I’m doing the right thing by leaving, I have nothing to hide.
SA: How irritated were you that people, most notably the administration at Kansas State, kept assuming that you were doing this just to follow your former coaches to Northern Colorado?
LR: “The most annoying thing for me was (hearing false accusations from) people that were claiming that they actually cared for me — the release wasn’t the only thing. But, after making the decision that I think was right and based on how I felt – hearing people that doesn’t want to listen to you, blaming my former coaches and other people I came for, that was really annoying – that made me mad. It was the worst thing.”
For more on Romero’s frustrating situation, check out SB Nation’s Kansas State blog Bring on the Cats.