Don Jackson of The Sports Group is representing Simmons. Simmons graduated from Alabama in May and transferred to Seton Hall to be closer to her brother, who has end-stage kidney disease. She has one season of college eligibility left, which Alabama has blocked.
After Seton Hall appealed the block, the NCAA ruled she would be eligible to play during the 2015-2016 season. Simmons, who redshirted in 2012 after transferring from Rutgers, is already 23 years old and doesn't want to delay a possible professional career another year, as her mother is currently working two jobs.
On Monday, University of Alabama president Judy Bonner announced that she will not lift the block. Bonner also denied a request by Simmons for a meeting, saying that the matter is already closed.
In the letter he filed to Alabama, Jackson wrote that there is information that strongly suggests that the Crimson Tide's women's basketball staff "has utilized student-athlete athletic financial aid to engage in a fairly broad and comprehensive pattern of bullying, harassment, retaliatory conduct and institutional hazing."
From Jackson's letter:
During this staff's tenure, multiple players were deprived of athletic financial aid for reasons that were entirely unrelated to either academic performance or student conduct issues. Further, the manner by which transfers, non-renewals of athletic financial, transfer releases and "waiver supports" have been handled by the basketball staff appear to disproportionately and adversely impact female female student-athletes. As you are undoubtedly aware, this may violate federal law.
Your athletic department (through the women's basketball staff) has engaged in a pattern of conduct that was calculated to intimidate and harass female student-athletes. This won't be tolerated further.
Jackson has previously represented former Kansas State guard Leticia Romero, who initially had her appeal for a transfer denied by the school. Romero was eventually granted her release in May.
- Molly Geary