When Jaida Roper signed her national letter of intent to Louisiana Tech in November, it was the culmination of a two-year process of getting to know and trust Tyler Summitt and his staff.
Now, upon learning the news of Summitt's abrupt resignation as head coach on Thursday, the three-star point guard from Memphis, Tennessee, has asked Louisiana Tech to release her from her commitment. But according to Roper's mom, Kina Roper, the school has denied her request, at least until a new coach is in place.
A National Letter of Intent remains binding -- a student-athlete is required to attend the institution for one year or lose a year of competition eligibility -- when a coach leaves a school, unless a release is granted by the institution. A student-athlete can appeal an institution's decision to the NLI Appeals Committee.
"What bond we built up in two-and-a-half years is gone, and now we have three months to find another home," Kina Roper said Friday. "Jaida wanted to go to Louisiana Tech because of Tyler Summitt and the staff. Don't punish my daughter on the account of his improprieties."
Jaiden McCoy, a 6-foot-3 center out of Knoxville, Tennessee, likewise signed a national letter of intent with Louisiana Tech in November. When reached by phone Friday, McCoy said she has not yet decided if she will seek a release.
A third member of Summitt's 2016 class, Anna McLeod, enrolled at Louisiana Tech during the winter quarter and is listed as a redshirt freshman on the roster. According to her father, Mark McLeod, the administration has told several players that no releases will be granted until a new coach is in place.
One high school junior, Madison Washington of Red Oak, Texas, had given a verbal commitment to Louisiana Tech. She has since decided to reopen her recruitment. Washington's mother, Kimberly, said she reached out to Summitt on Tuesday when she first heard rumors of his departure. According to Kimberly, the 25-year-old Summitt texted her back and said he would call. He never did.