New Mexico State University’s men’s basketball season came to an abrupt halt Sunday after the release of a police report detailing three players who conspired with a teammate and assaulted him in a case that included charges of trumped-up imprisonment, criminal sexual harassment and contact.
“It’s time for this program to be rearranged,” chancellor Dan Arvizu said in a statement announcing the end of the season.
Arvizu said the shutdown was in response to a report filed with campus police on Friday by a player against three of his teammates. According to the report, the victim said that on February 6, his teammates arrested him “took off his clothes which exposed his buttocks and started to slap (his buttocks). He also went on to state that they touched his scrotum as well.”
The victim, whose name has been changed in the report along with other players’ names, said other incidents involving inappropriate physical and sexual touching had taken place in the locker room and on the move since last summer. Regarding the latest incident, the victim told the police that she had no choice but to let this happen “because it was a 3 on 1 situation.”
Arvizu, who is set to leave the university in June after the district head recently opted not to renew his contract, said “this action was clearly necessary, especially after receiving additional facts and reviewing investigative reports into allegations of hazing involving student athletes on the team. ”
“We must uphold the safety of our students and the integrity of our university,” said Arvizu, who initially suspended the program on Friday, then unveiled what he called hazing accusations a day later.
He said he had spoken to the commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference, who said he was reviewing how to treat the six New Mexico State games that will be removed from the schedule in light of seeding for next month’s conference tournament.
The report said the victim went to the campus police to report a possible assault but did not wish to press criminal charges for the time being.
The allegations come less than three months after the suspension of attacker Mike Peake, who is being investigated in the fatal shooting of a student at a rival school, the University of New Mexico, Nov. 19 in Albuquerque.
Peake has not been charged in that case, including state troopers stopping the team bus on Interstate 25 on its way back to Las Cruces shortly after the shooting. Missing from the bus was Peake and three of his teammates, who rushed him to hospital with injured legs.
New Mexico State finished the season 9-15, with only two conference wins in 12 games. The Aggies, long a source of pride on their campus of 13,000 students in Las Cruces, have competed in eight NCAA tournaments since 2007. They are scheduled to move from WAC to Conference USA next season.
The next big decision for the program looks set to come on Tuesday, when university district heads will hold a closed meeting to discuss “limited personnel issues regarding individual employees.” It did not name the employees to be discussed. The scheduled meeting took place on Saturday, the day after Arvizu placed coach Greg Heiar and his staff on administrative leave at the same time he suspended the season.
The deletion of the 2022-23 campaign comes a day after two players quit following initial reports of incidents of hazing.
One of them, redshirt freshman Shahar Lazar, said he left because “I didn’t think the program that I was initially doing aligned with my core beliefs and values.”
#State #Mexico #canceled #mens #basketball #season