clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

School ends Kye Allums' season. Athlete's mother claims school squelching opportunities.

George Washington University has shut down Kye Allums' season due to concussion-related symptoms. Now his mother, Rolanda DelaMartinez, is speaking out

By Cyd Zeigler

kye_allums_1_300

George Washington University has ended Kye Allums’ basketball season. The junior guard played in only seven games this season as concussions kept him sidelined.

Allums became the first publicly transgender Div. 1 NCAA athlete in any sport when he came out in an article on Outsports.com in early November 2010.

Allums started his junior season poorly in what was dubbed his homecoming, playing in the Best Buy Classic in his native Minneapolis for the first time with George Washington. After the slow start, Allums led the team in field goal percentage, shooting 13-for-20, over his next four games. He also led the team in scoring twice. It was during a home loss to Auburn on Dec. 15 that he suffered what would be a season-ending concussion.

When asked why the school declared Allums unable to return to competition with three weeks left in the season, University spokesperson Candace Smith said in a statement to Outsports:

“The Athletics Department’s paramount objective is the health and well-being of its student-athletes. Unfortunately, Kye suffered multiple concussions this season. Based on the advice from the medical and training staff, he will not be ready to return to full participation before the conclusion of the women’s basketball season. He continues to work on rehabilitation.”

Despite starting 20 of 26 games last season, head coach Mike Bozeman never started Allums this season, and Allums never played more than 21 minutes in a game. In his break-out game against Coppin State on Nov. 18, in which he shot 4-for-5 and led the team in scoring, he played only 15 minutes.

Before Allums left the game against Auburn, the team was 3-3 in games he played. That game started an 11-game losing streak. The team’s record now stands at 8-18.

Allums’ mother, Rolanda DelaMartinez, is crying foul. DelaMartinez claims that just days before declaring his season over, a school doctor had cleared Allums to play and DelaMartinez was making travel arrangements to attend an upcoming game. But according to DelaMartinez, just a day before Allums’ planned return to the court, a team trainer told him the school was reversing that decision and ending his season. She claims Allums was told he would have to run two hours straight and then clear a concussion test before he would be allowed on the court again.

“How can you say yes you’re good to go, and now you say you have to run two hours straight [to get clearance]?” DelaMartinez asked. She also wondered why it was a team trainer and not a coach or school official to give Allums the news.

Smith declined comment on the specific claim.

Outsports’ request to speak with Allums was denied by the school.

“For the remainder of the season, Kye and the Athletics Department have agreed that it is in his best interest to focus on his academics and his rehabilitation,” Smith said in a statement. “After the season, Kye may have more time to pursue outside activities if he so chooses.”

When asked why Allums would not have time to speak to the media since the school has ended his season, Smith told Outsports:

“Kye's responsibilities as a student athlete remain. As a student-athlete and member of the women's basketball team, he still attends classes, practices, rehabilitation sessions and games when possible.”

DelaMartinez claims the school has squelched media opportunities against Allums’ wishes since the story broke on Outsports in November. One reporter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the school has denied their requests to speak with Allums for months.

DelaMartinez specifically claims that George Washington sabotaged an opportunity with MTV. The network allegedly approached Allums and the school about featuring Allums in an episode of the network’s "World of Jenks" show, which showcases stories of inspirational youth. According to Delamartinez, the school would not cooperate and MTV withdrew its interest. Phone calls to MTV casting producer Cheryl Wayne were not returned. Smith would not comment on the specific claim.

George Washington did allow various media interviews with Allums, including the New York Times and the Associated Press, in the week after the story broke on Outsports. They also held a press conference specifically to address this issue. However, a thorough Google search did not turn up any media interviews of Allums since late November.

Another member of the George Washington women’s basketball team who spoke on condition of anonymity in November told Outsports the team had been instructed to stop all communication with the media because of the Allums story.

“The school says in the media they support Kye’s decision or this is about Kye, but no it’s not about Kye because Kye isn’t allowed to speak,” DelaMartinez said. “GW is speaking for Kye right now.”

DelaMartinez says she and Allums are upset largely because of the missed opportunities to reach youth like him.

“My firstborn said she feels that there are children committing suicide because their parents don’t understand their gender or that they’re gay,” DelaMartinez said of Allums. “So when there are speaking engagements [for my child] scheduled just to talk about feelings, or when a media outlet calls to say, ‘tell me more about your story,’ it’s just to get the story out and be who she wants to be.

“It hurts to know that there has been no effort to understand her. The school has never sat down and said, ‘Hey, tell us what you want.’ They’ll say, ‘It’s all up to you and how you want to do it,’ but then they have capped off every avenue of speaking to the media and then using the guise of academics or basketball, when now she can’t even play basketball. It should be an open forum.”

DelaMartinez struggles to understand Allums as well. She mixes pronouns in conversation referring to Allums; She also consistently refers to Allums by his birth name. DelaMartinez says it’s difficult to understand as Allums’ mother, but she is working on it and remains Allums’ biggest supporter.

With his season over, Allums is now looking forward to his next big step: Gender-reassignment surgery. While many in the press have previously reported that Allums would not have any surgery until after his college career was over, Allums is scheduled for surgery in late May.

DelaMartinez claims that was always Allums’ plan, but officials at George Washington told Allums to tell the media he would not have surgery.

“The school told [Kye] it’s better to tell the media that there is no surgery involved,” DelaMartinez said. “That way people will not ask questions or second-guess what the body parts were or when a surgery might be happening. That’s not media coaching, that’s manipulation.”

Smith declined to comment on the claim.

DelaMartinez will be by Allums’ side for the surgery.