On November 25, it was announced that University of New Mexico Head Football Coach, Bob Davies, 65, who is in his 8th season at UNM, has submitted his resignation effective after the team’s season finale on November 30. In a statement issued to the media, Davies said:
“In stepping aside, I’m proud of what we accomplished at UNM, but we are all disappointed that we have not been able to sustain the success that we achieved and all desire. My family and I will be forever grateful to UNM for giving me the opportunity to coach again after being at ESPN for 10 years.”
With his resignation, Davies is ending a 33-year college coaching career which included coaching at the University of Norte Dame.
YET ANOTHER UNM FOOTBALL LOOSING SEASON
The departure of Bob Davies come as no surprise to UNM athletic program observers. The UNM Lobo football team has lost 8 straight football games this season with 2 wins and 9 losses. The team has a record of 8 wins and 27 losses the past three seasons. Coach Davies all around record at UNM is 35 wins and 63 losses with the November 30 game remaining. When Davie became UNM Football Coach, the program’s record was 3 wins and 33 loses from 2009 to 2011. Davie did have some success with 16 victories that lead to consecutive New Mexico Bowl appearances in 2015 and 2016.
EXPECT SIX FIGURES BUY OUT
Bob Davies has the distinction of being New Mexico’s highest paid public employee earning a salary and compensation package of $822,690 a year. ($422,690 in base salary and $400,000 in additional compensation for the UNM Lobos to wear Nike products, his agreement with Learfield Sports for radio and television appearances and general “program promotion” obligations). Based on salaries reported by USA Today, Davie’s salary and compensation package ranks eighth among the 12 Mountain West football head coaches.
In contrast, Lobo men’s basketball coach Paul Weir earns $675,000 with a $300,000 in base salary and $375,000 for the same additional compensation clauses as are in Davie’s contract. At the start of 2018-19 UNM season athletic season, Weir’s salary was ranked 7th in the Mountain West Conference (MWC) , and now ranks 6th when a scheduled $50,000 increase in salary began to be paid.
Overall, UNM athletics’ total personnel expenses is $14,531,524 and makes up 42% of its total $34,988,718 in expenses.
The financial terms and conditions of Davies departure were not announced. The buyout will most assuredly require another six-figure amount paid by UNM. Davies has two seasons remaining under his contract of $422,690 a season as his base pay. It is likely the Board of Regents will approve his departure and buy out at the next Board of Regents meeting on December 10.
The UNM Regents are required to follow policy governing contract buyouts. That policy is very specific and provides:
“The University shall not agree to pay a financial settlement without
(a) an appropriate risk assessment of the case,
(b) written approval by the Chancellor for Health Sciences, Provost, or Executive Vice President for Administration, and
(c) final approval by the President.”
A financial settlement payment by the University of $400,000 or more must also be approved by the Board of Regents.”
A FULL DECADE OF FAILED ATHLETIC PROGRAMS
On July 20, 2019, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents voted in favor of recommendations to eliminate four sports as the school’s troubled athletics department worked to control its spending and 10 years of deficits. The four-sports eliminated were beach volleyball, men’s and women’s skiing and the highly successful men’s soccer program. The UNM Regent’s unanimous vote came after dozens of people, from coaches and players to alumni and community members, testified on behalf of preserving the men’s soccer team and the skiing and beach volleyball programs.
The programs were cut anyway, eliciting boos and heckles from the crowd. Many expressed anger at the Board of Regents for not cutting one of the sports who has the most money problem at the university, such as the failing football program.
UNM’s athletics department has had chronic financial problems, having missed its budget 8 of the past 10 years. 2018 was one of the worse of the years having a $3.3 shortfall. UNM’s Board of Regents attempted to mitigate that by allocating the use of $1.3 million in reserves in November of last year.
In the last two years, the financial woes and major missteps, including criminal felony charges, of the UNM athletics for the last decade came to a head. Following is the chronology of events:
March 27, 2018: Higher Education Secretary Barbara Damron under Republican Governor Susana Martinez wrote to UNM that it had to submit by May 1, 2018 a plan for correcting the athletic department’s deficit.
April 10, 2018: With $4.7 million in debt accumulated over a decade, UNM Athletics announced a plan to eliminate more than one sport, but it did not detail which sports. The university’s Board of Regents ultimately approved a plan to cut $1.9 million from the athletic budget for fiscal year 2020.
July 18, 2018: Citing the deficit, costs but also Title IX concerns, UNM Athletics announced a recommendation to eliminate men’s soccer, men’s and women’s skiing and the women’s beach volleyball to be effective July 1, 2019.
July 19, 2018: The Board unanimously approved the proposal to cut the identified sports programs.
August 8, 2018: The state Attorney General’s office issued an opinion that the Regents’ decision to cut the sports occurred in violation of the state’s open meetings law.
August 17, 2018: Yielding to the NM Attorney General, the UNM Regents meet again and vote 7-0 to cut the four sports.
September, 2018: Gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham vows to reinstate the sports if she is elected.
February 2019: A House budget bill proposes a boost of the state’s general-fund appropriation for UNM Athletics to $4.6 million, up from $2.6 million and more than the $4.1 million UNM requested, on the condition that the four slashed sports be reinstated for 2019-20.
March 2019: UNM sharply defends the decision to cut the 4 sports saying the $2 million offered in the House bill would not cover the costs to keep the sports long term. UNM President Garnett Stokes says “there was no way to become Title IX compliant without reducing sports. ”
March 2019: The state Senate eventually strips out budgetary language in the House Bill requiring the return of the sports in order to receive funding, decrying the approach as “micromanaging.”
August 19: Former UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs is indicted on 7 felony counts relating to misuse of UNM athletic funds.
May 9, 2019: A new Board of Regents approves a budget of $32 million for FY 2020 for UNM athletics that projects a $1 million shortfall, even with a $32 million budget that has four fewer sports to operate as of July 1. Regents decide to funnel $1.2 million to the athletics program for debt service payment on the Pit Dreamstyle Arena renovation.
November 25, 2019: UNM Football coach Bob Davies resigns as head coach of the UNM Football program.
UNM ATHLETIC DIRECTOR PAUL KREBS SCANDAL
On August 24, 2019, it was reported that a grand jury indicted former UNM Athletic Director of the University of New Mexico Athletics Department Paul Krebs on seven felony counts in connection with a golf trip to Scotland in 2015 that was paid for, in part, with university funds. The indictment charged Krebs with embezzlement over $20,000 for using $24,500 of UNM money to pay for three individuals not affiliated with UNM or the UNM Association to go golfing in Scotland.
Krebs was also charged with embezzlement counts for using $13,625 in UNM money to pay a down payment for the trip and taking $9,379 from UNM to pay for himself to go on the trip. The indictment also charged Krebs with unlawful interest in a public contract, tampering with evidence, criminal solicitation and tax fraud. The criminal trial of Paul Krebs is still pending. The golf trip to Scotland in 2015 was a prime example of just how bad UNM Athletics has been mis managed for over so many years.
When Krebs finally resigned, he was paid $319,262 as UNM Athletic’s Vice President and was on the job for 11 years. During his 11 year tenure, Krebs fired and bought out the contracts of football coaches Rocky Long, Mike Locksley and basketball coach Richie McKay, with the programs still loosing money. Krebs also could not convince basketball coach Steve Alford to stay and Alford went on to coach UCLA.
When Krebs left, virtually all the UNM athletics program were operating in the “red”.
UNM FOOTBALL GAMES FALLING ATTENDANCE
UNM football has hit its lowest per-game total in nearly 30 years with an average attendance below 20,000 fans for the first time since 1992. On October 29, 2018, it was reported that the Lobos were the 27th worst team in the nation in terms of average attendance, ahead of just San Jose State, UNLV and Nevada among Mountain West institutions. In terms of the percentage of stadium filled, the Lobos were the ninth worst in the entire country.
For related media coverage and sources see:
AUDIT IDENTIFIES UNM ATHLETICS TITLE IX VIOLATIONS
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a short and simple federal law that states:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
On May 31, 2018, amid talks of cutting sports at UNM to fix the university’s athletic department debt that a University Audit revealed Title IX issues with the school’s athletics department. In short, it was found that UNM was not treating men’s and women’s sports equally in regards to the ratio of men and women on campus.
The audit broke down the disparity between men’s and women’s sports programs. Overall, it was found that UNM has about 11% more women on campus than men, but men comprise about 13% more of the school’s athletics program. The audit did not just look at numbers. It broke down everything from the quality of practice facilities and locker rooms to issuing of gear.
Examples found by the audit include the women’s soccer, swimming, golf and track teams had not been given sports bras. The women’s softball clubhouse was found to be in shambles compared to its baseball equivalent. Another example identified in the audit was that the women’s beach volleyball team did not even have a practice facility and were forced to use the courts at ‘Lucky 66 Bowl’ on 4th Street with problems reported including beer caps and needles in the sand.
The Title IX Audit looked at disparities with scholarships and money spent on team travels. The audit recommended fixing the violations either by adding women’s sports or eliminating men’s and adding facilities.
The University of New Mexico (UNM) is a Division I athletic program with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). UNM athletics maintains that its affiliation with the Mountain West Conference (MWC) is critically important because it has over 400 student athletes who attend UNM to compete at the highest level. UNM has over 16,000 students.
Colleges and universities that belong to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, designate themselves as Division I, II, or III, according to NCAA guidelines that set standards for such variables as the number of teams, team sizes, game calendars, and financial support. Within the world of college sports, Division I is the most intense and Division III the least intense.
As a Division I athletics program, UNM must sponsor a minimum of 14 varsity sports, which is problematic for UNM. It is required to sponsor football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball along with 11 other sports. It also must maintain the ability to be competitive, be able to assume costs associated with conference travel.
NCAA DIVISION I
Division I is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics overseen by the NCAA in the U.S. Division I schools comprise the major athletic powers in the college ranks and have larger budgets, more advanced facilities, and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III or smaller schools, even those that are competitive in athletics.
As of 2018, nearly 350 schools were classified as Division I, representing 49 of the 50 states. Sports played at Division I schools include hockey, basketball, baseball, and football.
Division I schools must:
Offer at least 14 sports: seven for men and seven for women, or six for men and eight for women
Offer at least two team sports for men and two for women
Can guarantee an audience of a specific size for football and basketball
Provide athletic scholarships and meet minimum financial aid awards for their athletics program, but there is a cap on financial aid awards for each sport.
Have enough games to fit each sport’s requirements
Require students to maintain a certain GPA and take at least 16 core courses for eligibility.
NCAA Division II
As of 2018, there are more than 300 schools classified as Division II. Sports in which Division II schools compete in addition to football, baseball, and basketball include fencing, golf, tennis, and water polo. Division II schools include the University of Charleston, University of New Haven, St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, Truman State University in Missouri, and Kentucky State University.
Their student-athletes might be just as skilled and competitive and those in Division I, but schools in Division II have fewer financial resources to devote to their athletics programs. Division II offers partial scholarships for financial aid. Students can cover their tuition through a mixture of athletics scholarships, and need based grants, academic aid, and employment.
Division II is the only one that holds National Championships Festivals, Olympic type events in which national championship competitions in several sports are held at one site over a period of days.
Division II schools must:
Have a minimum of 10 sports
Offer five each for men and women or four men’s and six women’s plus two team sports each
Have enough games to fit each sport’s requirements
Require students to maintain a 2.0 GPA and take at least 16 core courses to be eligible.
NCAA Division III
Division III schools don’t offer scholarships or financial aid to athletes for athletic participation, though athletes are still eligible for scholarships offered to any students who apply. Division III schools have at least five men’s and five women’s sports, including at least two team sports for each. There are 451 colleges in Division III as of 2018. Schools in Division III include Skidmore College, Washington University at St. Louis, Tufts University, and California Institute of Technology (CalTech), and Pomona College.
DIVISION II ATHLETIC PROGRAMS COST HALF OF DIVISION I PROGRAMS
According to the NCAA, it costs Division II schools, including football, about half as much to sponsor a competitive athletics program as it does in Division I. The net operating costs in Division II even tend to be lower than for programs of similar size in Division III primarily because of higher net operating revenues in Division II.
The NCAA reports as follows:
“Division II relies on a partial-scholarship model to administer athletics-based financial aid. Very few of the 110,000 student-athletes competing in Division II will receive a full athletics grant that covers all of their expenses, but most of them will receive some athletics-based financial aid to help them through school. For the rest of their expenses, student-athletes use academic scholarships, student loans and employment earnings just like most other students attending the school.
The partial-scholarship model allows Division II schools to recognize student-athletes for their skills through athletics-based aid, while at the same time keeping athletics budgets more in line with the institution’s bottom line. It costs Division II schools about half as much to sponsor a competitive athletics program as it does in Division I. The net operating costs in Division II even tend to be lower than for programs of similar size in Division III (primarily because of higher net operating revenues in Division II).
The partial-scholarship model is sometimes referred to as an “equivalency” system. That’s because schools in Division II are allowed to award athletics-based financial aid that is “equivalent” to a certain number of full grants in each sport.
For example, in football, schools are allowed to award up to 36 “equivalencies” or full grants, but of course the rosters in football are much larger than 36 players. Thus, coaches and financial aid officers at Division II institutions decide how to allocate those equivalencies as partial scholarships. That means some student-athletes may receive more athletics-based aid than others, and some will not receive any at all. As a comparison, schools in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision are allotted 85 “full rides.”
Division II recently commissioned a study on the financial impact of the partial-scholarship model and found that in general, scholarship student-athletes benefit institutions’ overall academic profile, and the partial-aid model generates revenue for the school.
The study found that athletics scholarship athletes – particularly women – bolster an institution’s academic profile and increase ethnic and geographic diversity among new students. In just about every measurable way, the study showed that scholarship student-athletes contribute positively, which means that even absent their participation in athletics, institutions would still be happy to have them as students on their campuses.”
STAYING WITHIN $32 MILLION BUDGET BY A MERE $115,000
The University of New Mexico athletic department has a $32 million operating budget. On August 7, 2019, it was reported the University of New Mexico’s Athletics Department stayed within its budget last fiscal year by a mere $115,000 last in a $32 million athletic department budget. According to the report, the UNM Athletics did not overspend from its $32 million operating budget. The department didn’t stay within its budget 8 times in 10 years, racking up nearly $5 million in debt that athletics is planning to pay back in increments.
UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez said:
“I do see … [staying within budget by $115,000] as a victory because I understand the sacrifices and hard work our coaches, our staff, our students, our university, everybody put into this … But I also still understand there are some challenges ahead of us.”
In order to make budget last year, the athletics department relied on a transfer of roughly $1 million from the rest of the university and the transfer of a $789,000. The department also saved money by leaving positions vacant, according to media reports and budget documents.
The biggest revenue sources for Lobo athletics was the media rights, sponsorships, licensing contract and the school’s membership in the Mountain West Conference, which each accounted for nearly $5 million in revenue last year.
Men’s basketball sold almost $3.6 million worth of tickets and the athletics department also received $3.3 million in student fees, according to budget documents.
UNM INCREASING TUITION WITH DECLINING ENROLLMENT
Founded in 1889 the University of New Mexico is considered the states “flagship” college institution. The University of New Mexico offers a wide variety of academic programs through 12 Colleges and Schools. These academic options include more than 215 degree and certificate programs, including 94 baccalaureate, 71 masters and 37 doctoral degrees. UNM has a n undergraduate enrollment of a little over 16,000 students with approximately 400 student-athletes.
On April 23, 2019, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents voted 6-1 to raise UNM’s base tuition by 3.1%. The increase was to provide for a 3% employee compensation increase, lower than the state-mandated 4 percent. The additional 1% was covered by a supplemental appropriation to the state of an additional $4.6 million dollars.
On September 26, 2019, the Daily Lobo, UNM’s school paper, reported that for the seventh consecutive year, student enrollment at the University of New Mexico had dropped significantly.
According to the Daily Lobo report:
“Undergraduate enrollment fell 6.5% (16,170) for the fall 2019 semester, while combined graduate and professional enrollment fell 6% (6,130), contributing to a five-year decline of 16.67% (22,792). The Albuquerque Journal reported that UNM expects a $4 million budget shortfall as a result of the enrollment decline.
In 2018, UNM saw a $10 million shortfall from a 7% decline. … Over the last five years, University College has seen the largest decline. The 80% decline from a 2015 high of 8,719 students brings the college’s enrollment to 1,674 in 2019. The College of Engineering has also seen a significant decline from 2,287 in 2015 to 1,881 in 2019 — a 17.75% decline.
Some schools and colleges that have maintained or even grown their enrollment … saw a decline in 2019. Anderson School of Management has seen a two year decline from a 2017 high of 2,446 to 2,102. The School of Nursing went from 794 in 2017 to 721 in 2019, a 9.19% decline.
Many of the smaller schools and colleges at UNM have actually seen an enrollment increase. Fine Arts saw a slight increase from 994 in 2015 to 1,004 in 2019. College of Population Health grew from 63 in 2015 to 82 in 2019.”
UNM’s total student count, including undergraduate, graduate and non-degree students, has gone down every year since 2012. In 2018, it took a sharper-than-expected drop when overall enrollment was down to 24,393 from 26,278.
Many schools across New Mexico are seeing declining enrollments. According to a New Mexico Higher Education Department report, total statewide post secondary enrollment fell 18.6 percent between 2010 and 2017. UNM officials have pinned the enrollment slump on a complex mix of factors that include New Mexico’s population stagnation, less regard for higher education’s value, fear over campus crime, and an improving state economy that means potential students pick jobs over education.
SURVEY PINPOINTS CAUSES OF ENROLLMENT DECLINE
In 2018, UNM did a survey of freshmen admitted by UNM but who did not enroll on main campus to determine why they did not choose UNM. Money emerged as a major factor in their decision. Asked the reasons they bypassed UNM, nearly half of the 120 respondents (48.3 percent) said getting a better scholarship or financial aid package at another school significantly influenced their decision. Over a third (36.4%) said the high cost of tuition played a significant role in their decision, and 27.5% rated the lower costs of community college as a key reason they skipped UNM.
Tuition and fees for a full-time New Mexico resident start at $7,556 for in sate residents and is $23,292 for out of state residents. Room and board, books and supplies add approximately $11,200 more a year. Roughly one-third of its undergraduate students get tuition assistance through the New Mexico Lottery scholarship.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The University of New Mexico needs to concentrate on its intended and most important function: to provide and offer a quality college education at an affordable price to students. UNM needs get out of the business of trying to be a University Division I athletics program powerhouse which is doubtful will ever achieved in the near future after 10 full years. The UNM regents need to take steps to get back to the basics of higher education and stop “rat holing” money in failed sports programs and stop increasing tuition.
A PROFESSIONAL SOCCER TEAM IN SEARCH OF A STADIUM WITH AN UNUSED ONE AVAILABLE
During the last 30 years, soccer in Albuquerque has flourished and excelled in Albuquerque, especially in grade schools, high schools and pre school programs. Today, it is very common to find grown men in their 30s who played soccer in grade school, mid- school and high school and who play in city adult leagues.
Soccer is now part of the city’s fabric with programs for children, adolescence and young adults. Soccer programs throughout the city have proven far more important and more inclusive for Albuquerque athletes than football programs could even hope to imagine.
New Mexico United, the highly successful professional soccer team has announced it is seeking a permanent home in Albuquerque after one year of existence in the city. Team owner and president Peter Trevisani said the current arrangement with the United Soccer League (USL) requires United to have a soccer-specific stadium for the 2021 season. It currently plays at Isotopes Stadium that is owned by the city and leased to the Isotopes.
United Soccer Team owner Peter Trevisani made a presentation to an interim legislative fiancé committee for $30 million in state capital outlay funds to be appropriated during the upcoming 2020 session that starts in January for a soccer stadium. The total price tag for such a stadium would approach $100 million. According to Trevisani, a new facility would help United jump up to the Major League Soccer Level (ML) which is the sport’s equivalent of the National Basket Ball Association (NBA) or Major League Baseball.
One option that should seriously be considered is to sell or lease the UNM Football Stadium to the City and the football stadium converted to a United New Mexico Soccer Stadium.
With UNM football coach Bob Davies now gone and the football season ending, now is the best time to end the UNM football program as it exists and continue the entire UNM Athlectics Program as a Division II program.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Legislature should force UNM to become a Division II sports program and restore successful programs such as the winning Soccer Program.
The University Regents and elected officials need to stop having unrealistic high hopes and dreams for UNM football. UNM needs to stop the insanity of wasting so much money on a failing athletic program in general known for paying outrageous salaries to coaches who do not cut it with loosing seasons and the university is force pay six figures to buy out contracts when they never work out or produce winning seasons.