Jan. 15, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
After careful consultation with his family, coaching staff and teammates, Florida State University men’s basketball player Diego Romero has decided to redshirt the remainder of the 2003-04 season and begin next season with two full years of eligibility. Romero had his eligibility restored January 11 by the NCAA after its Management Council determined that its endorsement of the effective date for the new amateurism standard for transfer student-athletes should be amended.
“I want to play so bad and have been practicing hard with the team,” said Romero in a press conference at the FSU Basketball Training Center. “I found out yesterday when coach told me that if I redshirt I will have two full years to play with no games suspension. I think to redshirt this year and have two full years is the best thing. I don’t think I am right now in the best shape of my life. I have been through a lot of stuff and I don’t think I am in my best shape right now.
“I was thinking about redshirting a long time ago but it was a hard decision for me. When coach told me I would have no games suspension – I told him I wanted to redshirt.”
The July 2002 directive from the management council stated any student-athlete who enrolled in an NCAA institution after August 1, 2003, and had signed a professional contract would fall under a new reinstatement standard. The management council determined the new standard, which makes student-athletes permanently ineligible to play a sport if they sign a professional contract that makes them a professional in that sport, unintentionally harmed transfer student-athletes by not applying the former standard for those student-athletes already enrolled at a collegiate institution before the effective date.
The new directive made it clear to the student-athlete reinstatement staff and committee that any student-athlete who is in conflict with the amateurism rules dealing with professionalizing themselves, and enrolled at an NCAA institution after the effective date, would be ineligible to play that sport. The new standard also alleviated the two-prong standard that was previously applied to student-athletes seeking reinstatement. By amending the directive, student-athletes who enrolled at any college prior to August 1, 2003, will be evaluated under the intent-to-professionalize standard which was previously used.
“We are always going to wonder what we could have been or where we would be at this point had we had a guy with his skills on our team,” said Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. “He absolutely could have made us better. But, at this particular point, we can’t look in the past – we have to look forward. That’s why we have made the decision for his future and for the future of our program; we think it’s in our best interest of all concerned for us to allow Diego Romero to redshirt this year.
“I have to say that I really appreciate the cooperation of the athletic department and especially Bob Minnix for his tireless work. I thought he did a wonderful job of giving us confidence after he evaluated everything and even after we had been told no by the NCAA on several occasions. He made us feel that we were doing the right things and I thought he kept Diego’s spirits up because of his experience and knowledge. We were confident that we were following the direction of a person who understood the approach that had to be taken. I’m not sure we could have gotten this done without him.”
Florida State, with a 12-4 record, continues its schedule as it travels to play at Virginia Sunday at 1 p.m. The Seminoles return home and play host to North Carolina (Jan. 22, 7 p.m.) and Wake Forest (Jan. 25, 1 p.m.) next week. Tickets are available for those and all Seminole game by calling 1-800-FSUNOLE or by logging onto seminoles.com.