Chris Mascaro
Wednesday April 16th, 2014

(Rod Aydelotte/AP Images) Leticia Romero (right) led the Wildcats in nearly every statistical category this past season. (Rod Aydelotte/AP Images)

Kansas State basketball player Leticia Romero submitted a request to be released from her scholarship last week, with the intention of transferring from the school. The school denied the request, and Romero said she feels like she's being blackmailed over her transfer, she told Corbin McGuire of The Topeka Capital-Journal on Tuesday.

“They said we wanted to do the same thing they did with Angel [Rodriguez] for the men’s team, and they said that they weren’t going to give me the release this year,” Romero said. “They wanted me to try one year, and in one year if I didn’t like it, they would give me a release.

“I really saw this as blackmail.”

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A unanimous selection to the Big 12 All-Freshman team, Romero led the Wildcats (11-19) with 14.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. The 5-foot-8, 19-year-old guard from Spain also led the team in assists, steals and three-point shooting.

Romero, who said she will take her case before an appeals committee on Wednesday, chose Kansas State out of more than 60 scholarship offers, McGuire reports. She also visited Florida State and Virginia Tech.

She cited recently-fired coach Deb Patterson as a reason for choosing the school, as well as Shalee Lehning, an assistant who decided not to remain on staff after Patterson's firing.

“The reason I came was because of the coaches,” Romero said. “I would’ve never thought about leaving if none of this would’ve happened.”

But McKenna Treece, a recruit who signed while Patterson was still coach, was granted a release of her national letter of intent, according to McGuire.

“They gave the release to her, which I completely understand. She deserves the release, but I do, too,” Romero said. “What’s the difference? Why do we give the release to [one] player and not the other?”

The school refused to comment, citing privacy laws. But K-State’s student-athlete handbook states: “It is the policy of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics not to grant a release for purposes of a transfer or provide the one-time transfer exception,” except for circumstances “which place an undue burden on the student-athlete.”

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