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Romero opts to skip the season

BRIAN LANDMAN
Published January 16, 2004

Florida State junior Diego Romero, who regained his eligibility this week when the NCAA Division I Management Council changed the effective date of a new amateurism rule, has decided to sit out the season.

"I've missed already 15 games," Romero said Thursday, not counting Tuesday, when he made the trip to Clemson but didn't play. "And it would take four or five more games to get into game shape."

That would have left the 6-foot-10, 245-pound forward no more than 10 regular-season games, which isn't what he or coach Leonard Hamilton had in mind.

"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," Hamilton said of Romero's passing and shooting abilities. "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."

Perhaps the deciding factor was news that the NCAA would not force Romero to miss any games next season. Under the old rule, a student-athlete who played with a professional club and/or signed a contract, and Romero did both with a team in his native Argentina, could be reinstated after serving a maximum eight-game suspension.

"November will be here real quick," he said.

Romero, 21, will have two years of eligibility.

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