The University of New Mexico announced last week that it would be suspending its head football coach, Bob Davie, for a period of 30 days — but Davie has quickly countered by filing an appeal.
University of New Mexico Interim President Chaouki Abdallah released a statement on Thursday, detailing the finding and recommendations of some recent investigations — as well as news of the suspension and additional measures that were outlined.
The following day, Davie released a statement saying he was appealing the decision. As the head coach pointed out, there was no specific reason given for his suspension.
“None of these three investigations determined that I had violated any University policy,” he said in the statement. “I have appealed the suspension imposed by Interim President Abdallah to the Board of Regents.”
Independent journalist Daniel Lidbit of NM Fishbowl broke the news last fall that Davie and the athletic program were the target of an investigation and that UNM had retained former federal Judge Bruce Black to look into some specific allegations.
The law firm, Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose, said Black identified a couple of matters surrounding the football program that required further investigation, which were included in its scope in the follow-up probe.
The final report released by Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose indicated that the firm was unable to conclude that football coaches or staff members interfered with criminal investigations surrounding players on the team, nor was it able to substantiate claims of physical abuse to the players.
Similarly, the UNM Office of Equal Opportunity released its findings and stated there was a lack of evidence to support multiple allegations. However, the report did cite “environmental concerns” and “failure to follow civil rights reporting protocol and policy” and made multiple recommendations in its investigative summary.
The absence of any clearly defined proof of wrongdoing was apparently all the cause Davie needed to set his appeal into motion.
Lidbit recently released on nmfishbowl.com the nine-point petition for appeal that Michael K. Kennedy of Gallagher & Kennedy submitted on Davie's behalf.
Among the nine points listed in the appeal was the assertion that no violation of University policy, NCAA principle or Davie’s employment contract has occurred.
The petition estimated the investigations’ cost to the University of New Mexico to be approximately $100,000 and claimed that the investment of significant time and money resulted in an “undisputed unanimous conclusion” that Davie did not violate University policy.
Additional points outlined in the appeal include: the Interim President did not have the authority to modify, vacate or reverse the findings in the OEO report, Davie was deprived of his right to fair or due process and a final claim that the sanction is excessive.
Davie was present for the football team’s first spring practice on Friday. He did not answer questions relating to the suspension or his decision to appeal it.
However, the head coach did mention in his statement that he cooperated fully regarding the investigations. And although some of the allegations were disturbing, Davie seemed vindicated by the verbiage in the final report.
“I fully cooperated in every respect and met multiple times with the investigators but was never asked to meet with or prove information to Hogan,” Davie said in a statement. “In fact, the Hogan Report reads, ‘Given the lack of specific evidence that he or his staff engaged in criminal obstruction or retaliation with respect to these three incidences, we also determined that it was not necessary to interview Coach Davie or conduct a further review of additional police, OEO and medical records.’”
There was no mention of the effective date of when the 30-day unpaid suspension was set to begin or when the appeal will be heard. But for now, it appears Davie will be able to continue engaging in day-to-day activities.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball, football and tennis. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.