The New Mexico football program has put together two of its best seasons in program history, but another accusation of an alleged sexual assault has brought a different kind of attention — one that is “frustrating” and “disappointing.”
KOB 4 reported that New Mexico football head coach Bob Davie confirmed that one of the players is currently under investigation.
The report said Lt. Tim Stump of UNMPD confirmed a case involving an alleged sexual assault, but did not release the names of those involved.
During a press conference on Friday, Davie said his understanding was that the investigation had been underway for approximately one week.
The allegation is one of several that have been made involving the program over the past several seasons, something Davie acknowledged as a concern.
“Each one of these — even as an accusation — is frustrating,” he said. “We take them all very seriously, but it’s also important to know that it is an accusation.”
He said it was frustrating and disappointing, but also important to understand that an investigation does not mean charges have, or will, be filed.
Davie said the process will continue and the appropriate decision will be made afterward.
Paul Krebs, UNM vice president of athletics, also spoke at the conference, saying the issue is being taken seriously as a department.
“Sexual assaults (and) sexual violence on college campuses is a major issue. It’s unacceptable,” Krebs said. “When it does occur and our athletes are involved, they must be, and will be, held accountable.”
UNM came under scrutiny for its handling of such cases during a Department of Justice investigation last year, which has led to sweeping policy changes on how the University deals with allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
Krebs said both he and Davie are removed from the investigative process, in order for the procedure to be fair and impartial. He said their role is limited to providing support when appropriate.
Krebs said there is great concern about safety and the department tries to provide education — something Davie said is imparted on his players “every single day.”
Davie said the players see presentations on issues across the nations and tells his players they can learn from other people’s mistakes.
“You don’t have to be the one to touch the stove to find out it is hot,” he said.
The goal is to avoid being involved in a situation where an accusation can be made, but he noted that people are also innocent until proven guilty.
He said the unnamed player will remain in the program and continue as normal unless a charge is formally filed.
“If there is enough evidence after that investigation from the accusation that a criminal charge is file, then I will suspend him,” he said.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers football and men’s and women’s tennis. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @robert_maler.