Football wasn’t the first item on Bob Davie’s agenda at the pre-fall camp press conference on Tuesday.
Instead of first talking about the New Mexico football team’s upcoming fall camp, the head coach announced to the media that right guard Jamal Price was arrested on Monday. Price was charged with breaking and entering and conspiracy to commit a fourth degree felony.
Price was released from jail on Tuesday after posting a $5,000 bail. Davie said Price is indefinitely suspended from the team.
“It affects us dramatically,” Davie said. “It’s another blow. It’s another embarrassment. It’s another deal that I’m accountable for it and it happened.”
The senior from Pomfret, Maryland, became the third UNM football player this year to be suspended after an arrest.
On April 21, Lobo running back Crusoe Gongbay, along with CNM student Ryan Ruff, was arrested on rape charges. Later that month, UNM cornerback SaQwan Edwards was arrested later in connection with the alleged rape. All three were accused of raping a female UNM student. Ruff was accused of raping the woman at gun point.
In June, the charges filed against Gongbay, Ruff and Edwards were dismissed by the District Attorney’s office. However, District Attorney Spokesperson Kayla Anderson said that the prosecutors can refile charges if any more evidence is found.
Davie said he wishes his players would try to avoid “toxic” situations that could land them in trouble.
“I do think that there is a level of frustration that’s shared by the coaches and the players,” he said. “I know guys want to make the right decisions. They understand what it takes to make the right decisions and they’re hurt by this. I know our football team is hurt by this. I know our football team rallied to a degree to try to keep this from happening.”
Asked if players being arrested is just a “causality” of college football, Davie said he doesn’t accept or believe that’s the case.
“I’ll never use that safety net. Never will I use that safety net. You go on ESPN.com and this stuff is happening every day. Once you start making excuses for things it’s over,” he said. “These are all my guys, these are all my responsibility. It’s my responsibility. Again, you have three players who are suspended right now.”
Davie said he doesn’t know if or when he will lift the suspensions on Gongbay and Edwards. The University is still continuing its own criminal investigation and the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity is conducting an investigation into whether or not there was any student conduct violations.
As for Price, Davie said he’ll let the legal system handle that situation first.
“I will make the right decision with no agenda. I will never bring a guy back because he can help us win a game,” Davie said. “I’m not going to keep a guy suspended to prove that I’m this disciplinarian and I’m going to things right so the perception of me is this. I’m going to do what’s right. I’m not going to it with an agenda.”
Price was slated to the starting right guard this upcoming season. He earned the starting job last year and played in all 12 games. Redshirt freshman Toye Adewon is expected to takeover in Price’s absence.
“It hurts because we’re all a team. I’m really close to a lot of players on the team and I hate to hear that they got arrested and these kind of things,” junior cornerback Cranston Jones said. “We can’t let it get to us. We just have to go ahead and go forward.”
Thomas Romero-Salas is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ThomasRomeroS.