Seemingly out of nowhere, New Mexico State University suspended its basketball program indefinitely. In a statement released on Friday the school said, "New Mexico State University is suspending operations for the men's basketball program until further notice. NMSU personnel were recently informed of new allegations, separate from the events that took place in Albuquerque late last year, involving potential violations of university policy. While those allegations are still being investigated, the men's basketball coaching staff has been placed on paid administrative leave."
What Happened at New Mexico State?
These "new allegations" were not related to the shooting incident involving an NSMU player back in November. Instead, the decision to suspend the program was based on hazing allegations. Dan E. Arvizu, chancellor of New Mexico State University, said he was"heartbroken and sickened" upon hearing about the allegations. In order to show that hazing would not be condoned in any capacity, Arivzu decided to suspend the team "until further notice" and place the coaching staff on paid administrative leave. The Aggies were in South California preparing to face California Baptist University when the allegations surfaced and the chancellor's decision was made, canceling the game scheduled for February 11.
Before it was announced that the team's season would be suspended, two players on NMSU, Sahar Lazar and Kent Olewiler, both announced on social media they were leaving the Aggies. Neither player had played on the team this year. "I don't think the program that I originally committed to aligns with my beliefs and core values," Lazer wrote in his post.
Back in November, Aggie forward Mike Peake was allegedly involved in a fatal shooting on the University of New Mexico campus. According to reports, it is believed that Peake shot UNM student Brandon Travis in self-defense after Travis, along with three other students, lured Peake to campus to assault him. A video shows Travis and company chasing Peake through a parking lot, one person armed with a baseball bat. That weekend's game between the rival schools was cancelled.
Following the shooting, members the NMSU basketball program were accused of trying to cover up the incident. Three other players on the team allegedly picked Peake up from the UNM campus before cops could arrive and brought him to a hospital. NMSU coaches allegedly did not cooperate with the police and one assistant coach was found with the gun used in the incident. While the Aggies have been tied up in controversy for months, the recent suspension is reportedly unrelated to the November case.
New Mexico State was 9-15 overall and 2-10 in WAC play before the unprecedented move to suspended the entire program in the middle of a season. But as the chancellor of New Mexico State University said on Friday, "hazing is a despicable act" and will not be tolerated by the university.
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