Swish Appeal: How has your day been thus far?
Don Jackson: "Probably against my better judgment that these folks at University of Alabama would use a little bit of rational common sense and close this thing out, but that's probably not going to happen anytime soon."
SA: You were involved with the Leticia Romero case, from your perspective, how does this compare to Daisha Simmons and the stance that Alabama is taking against her?
DJ: "I did represent Leticia (Romero) in that case and the stances that the schools are taking -- well, they're identical. It's the exact same stance.
"What they're doing is they're attempting to justify her not being allowed to compete this year and attempting to hide behind NCAA legislation. No waiver case is truly closed if there's new information available. That new information can be submitted at any time -- it can be submitted right back to the NCAA interpreting staff. At that point, it would be simple to reopen the case and it would start all over again.
"So, their decision to take this approach - don't' get me wrong, there were aspects of the Romero (case) that I thought Kansas State actions were really, really dreadful. The way that they treated her, I thought they were dreadful. But then they realized that it was of no benefit to the university to attempt to punish a player - and to be frank with you, they took such a beating in the media and they were looking at a real possibility of legal action, they also realized, correctly, to correct the problem.
"For me, this case is worse and I'll tell you why: because on top of the fact that she's graduated, she has an opportunity to go to Seton Hall and play -- the really significant (and) mitigating facts here for me are the illnesses in her family. It's not like she just randomly thought she wanted to go home. The University of Alabama refused to admit her into a graduate program. When they refused to admit her into a graduate program, the basketball staff there attempted to coerce her into going into a graduate program that she had no desire to enroll in.
"Next, the really interesting thing about this is they claim that it was too late for them to recruit. But that didn't forbid them from contacting me in May about recruiting Leticia Romero. The University of Alabama staff contacted me -- at the time Romero was released and right before she was released -- because of the fact that I was representing her. Quite a number of the schools contacted me to try and get in contact with her.
"Quite often, I just passed her email address onto the schools. Well, there was an assistant coach on Alabama's staff that had previously coached at Kansas, his name was Terry Nooner. He contacted me about Romero, it's not like they didn't know - I hear all of this nonsense about they are not going to be able to recruit, and it's too late.
"This is about pure intimidation and retaliation. I notified University of Alabama's president (Dr. Judy Bonner) via email on Friday: we formally filed a complaint with them and filed a Title IX complaint because this coaching staff's actions are (tantamount) to harassment, they amount to bullying, they amount to really treating female student-athletes differently than they've historically treated male student-athletes in that athletic department.
"They actually have a graduate transfer quarterback, (Jacob Coker), on their football team right now that's competed for the starting job all throughout the year. They clearly know this process, this is probably about as bad as anything I've seen in college basketball - and I've been involved athletics practice or sports practice for over two decades."
SA: What is the next step going forward -- as you stated in your own opinion, this is worse than the Romero case?
DJ: "To have some discussion with the NCAA about the potential for her being granted a waiver outside of this ordinary waiver. I think the NCAA is sympathetic to the facts here -- the mere fact that she's already been granted a sixth year of eligibility is an indication of the fact that they are sympathetic to her. That's issue one.
"Issue two is to try to examine everything that's occurred over the last several days. For example, Brittany Jack's interview about the treatment of student-athletes in that program. There are issues surrounding this program's treatment of players...I don't have any indication (it's to the level of) Rutgers University Mike Rice physical abuse. But I do have knowledge based on some of the things that Brittany Jack stated in her interview, and also based on some things that I've gotten over the past several days from other sources, that leads me to believe that there were things going on in that program that should entitle every player to transfer out of that program - that should entitle every player in that program the ability to get on the floor this year.
"All the players that left Rutgers (who) had the ability were granted waivers -- they could immediately get on the floor. I think as time progresses, you will see that there may be things that may arise coming from (Alabama's women's basketball program) that might lead to the same conclusion down the road.
"Is legal action a possibility? Yes, it is. At the same time, administratively, I've got an obligation to try and go through all of the administrative steps and administrative remedies before proceeding to the next step. Hopefully administratively (it) can be worked out - that the University doing what they have a moral obligation to do, and we think a legal obligation as well.
"We have (sent) a notice that we consider this -- the things that are occurring in the in this basketball program -- to be in violation of Title IX. They have a legal obligation to investigate that - and that's legal obligation under Federal law.
"Even that Brittany Jack interview really implied Title IX issues -- they (Alabama) had an obligation at that point. Frankly, that interview implied verbal abuse, it implied bullying, and it implied withholding financial aid to female student-athletes.
"All of those things should've triggered a Title IX investigation from the University. We notified the University president of this notice this past Friday afternoon -- and laid out all of these issues including references to Brittany Jack's first-person interview. When coaches do this, it incites the NCAA to want to take a look, it incites people to want to look at (Curry's) background, ‘Let's look at Texas Tech...let's look at Purdue.' She had NCAA issues at Purdue."
SA: In closing, do you have anything else you would like to state?
DJ: "I find it hard to believe that the NCAA would side with a public university, and take away opportunities from a female student-athlete that's been a victim, of what appears to be, widespread violation of Title IX with her former basketball program. The NCAA has a moral and maybe legal obligation to intervene on this student-athlete's behalf. The university has a legal obligation to investigate and to protect the rights and interest of their female student-athletes."