Sports

Students, politicians cry foul as UNM regents again consider cutting sports

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The University of New Mexico Board of Regents will meet once more at 1 p.M. Nowadays to recollect a contentious proposal to reduce four sports and regulate the rosters of others.

In a widely criticized move, the board voted 6-0 on July 19 to cut men’s soccer, ladies’ beach volleyball, men’s and women’s ski groups and drastically alternate rosters for ladies’ swimming and diving and guys’ tune and subject.

 

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UNM President Garnett Stokes and Athletics Director Eddie Nuñez proposed the cuts an ultimate month, calling them important to cope with years of monetary and federal Title IX gender equity shortcomings.

But because then, the network has popped out swinging.

An opinion issued final week through the state Attorney General’s Office that the collection violated the Open Meetings Act has triggered the regents to schedule these days’ do-over, one many hope will cause a different result.

Attorney General Hector Balderas also strongly urged UNM to get greater public input before any new vote.

UNM student-athletes from some sports activities that might be cut at the modern-day Board of Regents meeting attend a rally on Thursday night. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)
UNM scholar-athletes from a number of the sports that would be reduced at today’s Board of Regents meeting attend a rally on Thursday night. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

About two hundred human beings attended an on-campus rally Thursday night to aid all sports activities – the ones proposed to be reduced and people no longer at the cutting block.

“It’s a disservice to the network of Albuquerque,” Lobo alum Steven Hartman said at the rally. “… The more emphasis we get on truly seeking to help these teams and hold them funded, I desire a person will pay attention to it.”

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Ski group participants danced on curler blades with others on the rally and raised signs and symptoms protesting the proposed cuts.

When the Queen tune “Another One Bites the Dust” started to play as the rally started, ski team advises John Garcia said, “Not the track to play right now,” and requested “We Are the Champions” as a substitute.

The guys’ soccer group did no longer come to the rally. The team is in Colorado for an exhibition suit and isn’t expected at nowadays’s regents meeting.

Both gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Steve Pearce – and now Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller – have publicly criticized the choice.

Five Democratic state legislators held a news convention shortly after the July 19 vote. They said that UNM should have requested help, and the enhancing economy ought to suggest extra money for UNM sports activities this coming session. UNM says it has sought assistance.

On Wednesday, UNM posted extra than 500 pages of files it says have been used to decide what sports activities to put off. Lists of athletes who gained convention player-of-the-week awards included a 60-page segment called “information articles” that blanketed releases from different universities justifying why they reduce sports activities and numerous pages of monetary files presented to the regents at open conferences over the last numerous months.

UNM has no longer stated definitively if it plans a new vote nowadays. However, the agenda published for the meeting does listing the problem as an action item.

Players felt misled

Now, girls’ seaside volleyball pupil-athletes say they planned to record a Title IX complaint about the flow and informed the Journal they believe they have been misled after being asked to participate in a Title IX evaluation interview remaining spring.

They declare their comments made to a paid consultant had been later used as justification for getting rid of their recreation.

“I just need so one can have agreed within those human beings in power, in the ones folks who are making the selections for us and strolling our branch,” said senior Mercedes Pacheco.

Junior Lauren Twitty and senior Carly Beddingfield said they had been informed their feedback to Helen Grant would continue to be personal and turned into their possibility to deliver up any concerns they’d about centers, assets, or other ability gender equity issues that they had in athletics.

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But the file became made public in May and blanketed comments approximately playing at an off-campus bowling alley. Those worries had been used, an element, by way of UNM as justification for removing this system due to the fact the department stated it couldn’t afford the anticipated $340,000 to build an on-campus facility.

“We went into it wondering it become an effective aspect for us,” Bedingfield stated of the opportunity to explicit concerns approximately gender equity issues. “We felt like there are quite a few Title IX problems.”

Twitty said, “We didn’t comprehend that it changed into going to be used towards us.”

Nuñez stated in an email Thursday that the athletes interviewed for the Title IX evaluation should not have expected their answers to be private.

“The scholar-athletes knew that Ms. Grant changed into assessing Title IX at UNM, and they wished to tell her exactly how they felt or could price their participation opportunity, aid services, facilities, and standard NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics.”

He said the representative became no longer employed to assist in deciding on whether or not to cut sports.

Financial assist coming?

KOB-TV said Wednesday that a non-public donor supplied $250,000 over five years to store the diving portion of UNM’s swimming and diving program. However, Nuñez stated he isn’t always privy to this kind of dedication.

Keller – who wrote Stokes what he stated became an unanswered letter in May urging UNM not to defund guys’ football – stated he could not normally weigh in on UNM choices, but this transcends the institution. He cited the metropolis’s funding in soccer, such as a minor league professional group slated to play its inaugural season subsequent 12 months at Isotopes Park.

The new crew’s train, Troy Lesesne, joined Keller at Thursday’s information conference, as did City Councilor Ken Sanchez, Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, and nation Rep. Javier Martinez D-Albuquerque.

Martinez stated a guide for football inside the Legislature, and finances are available to salvage the game. Asked what he would do if others – even other departments at UNM – asked for kingdom assist. He said a scarcity “delusion” in New Mexico makes humans consider that funding in a single area should come at any other cost.

“There are masses of cash to move around. I’m no longer saying that in terms of ‘allow’s just spend money,’ ” Martinez said. “What I’m pronouncing is that if we prioritize our funding, we’re able to save not best those sports, but we can be able to be more efficient in our management of these sports, each inside the athletic branch for positive however someplace else in state government.”

Nuñez instructed the Journal, “The president and I actually have met with kingdom leaders, and they have provided to help inside the manner; however, we presently have no longer received any guarantee of reoccurring greenbacks.”

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