The news centering on football players taking a knee during the national anthem has largely been an issue playing out in the NFL but has trickled down to the high school level. College football tends to stay out of the issue since most pregame ceremonies occur with college football players in the locker room. But because weather wiped out the typical pregame pomp and circumstance prior to Saturday night’s New Mexico vs. Air Force game, players were on the field as the national anthem was performed, oddly enough, at halftime.
Five players from New Mexico’s football team — defensive end Garrett Hughes, safety Stanley Barnwell, cornerback Elijah Lilly, safety Michael Sewell, and linebacker Kimmie Carson — all were seen taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.
Both teams remained on the field during halftime rather than retreating to their locker rooms due to a shortened halftime break. The game scheduled was modified due to a weather delay. New Mexico head coach Bob Davie said it was agreed there would be no playing of the national anthem during the halftime, so he was surprised when it was played and to learn some of his players chose to take a knee the way a number of NFL players have recently.
“I’d like to have the opportunity to visit with our players, talk about what our stance would be, unified as a football team,” Davie said, according to the Albuquerque Journal. “I kind of got shocked by that. I wouldn’t want to judge or have too much of a critique, at least speaking from my standpoint, as far as a total football team. Because in fairness to them, I never really talked to them about it.”
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun was asked about the situation after the game (no Air Force players were seen taking a knee), and he showed no ill-will over the decision.
“That’s their right,” he said. “They live in a country where they’re allowed to do that.”
This is not a good look for anyone involved, regardless of how it ultimately turns out.
Citing multiple sources apprised of the situation, NMfishbowl.com is reporting that New Mexico head coach Bob Davie is currently under investigation for the alleged mistreatment of players. The website wrote that “[t]he Davie investigation was initiated in recent months… following the latest round of athlete exit interviews conducted over the spring.”
Previous exit interviews had shown player discontent with Davie; this latest round, per the website, brought far more serious allegations to the surface and served as the trigger for the probe.
In addition to player mistreatment, it’s being reported that the athlete drug-testing process has been compromised. No details on that and if it pertains to Davie as well have been made available.
For its part, the school would only confirm that a general investigation into athletics is being conducted.
“I can confirm there is an investigation underway in Athletics,” a UNM spokesperson said. “We are not going to comment on the details or the individuals involved until the investigation is complete.”
Taking over a team that had won a total of three games in the three seasons (2009-11) prior to his arrival in Albuquerque in 2012, Davie led the Lobos to 11 wins his first three years before winning seven in 2015 and nine last season. The win total last year was tied for the second-most in the program’s history, and the bowl win was the team’s first since 2007 and just the fourth ever for the Lobos.
A Cincinnati transfer is not the only player from another FBS program Mike Jinks will be adding to his.
In releasing its updated roster Tuesday, BGSU confirmed that linebacker Roland Walder and punter Matt Naranjo have been added to the Falcons football team. The former comes to the MAC school from Kentucky, the latter from New Mexico.
Both players will have to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. Walder will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2018 season, as will Naranjo.
A three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2016 recruiting class, Walder was rated as the No. 36 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 39 player at any position in the state of Ohio. In addition to UK, Walder held offers from, among others, Cincinnati, Nebraska, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
As a true freshman last season, the linebacker took a redshirt. He announced on Twitter in late June that he would be transferring from UK.
Naranjo didn’t play last season as well.
Additionally, BGSU confirmed the addition of John Kurtz to the roster as well. Late last month, it was revealed that the offensive lineman would be transferring in from Cincinnati.
Unlike the other two, Kurtz is a graduate transfer and is thus eligible to play immediately this coming season.
Just prior to the start of summer camp, Iowa’s receiving corps has been unexpectedly bolstered.
Speaking at the Mountain West Conference’s version of media days, Bob Davie revealed that Matt Quarells has decided to leave his New Mexico football program. Not only that, the Lobos head coach revealed the wide receiver’s destination — the Hawkeyes.
“He’s a great kid, and I hate to lose him,” Davie said according to the Albuquerque Journal. “But I think Iowa’s a good fit for him.”
A native of St. Louis, Quarells wanted to finish up his playing career closer to home, his now-former coach added.
As a graduate transfer, Quarells will be able to contribute in the Hawkeyes’ passing game this season. Not only that, but the rising junior can play in 2018 as well as he has two years of eligibility remaining.
After catching two passes for 23 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2015, he caught 11 for 180 yards and a touchdown last season. The lone score was a 62-yarder in the season-opening win over South Dakota. He caught a career-high five passes two weeks later in a nine-point loss to Rutgers.
New Mexico AD Paul Krebs (right) had it all figured out. He wanted to go to Scotland to play golf (who doesn’t) but he didn’t want to pay for it (who does?). So he came up with a solution: he’d turn it into a UNM fundraising trip and make the school pay for it.
The school sold 23 packages to travel across the pond for a getaway of luxurious accommodations and bucket-list golf, but put the bills of himself, two UNM executives and a handful of local businessmen on the school’s dime. Lots of dimes, in fact. The trip cost the Lobos nearly $65,000.
“The trip was a working trip and it was designed to immerse us with these donors. It was an intensive experience and I understand why people may question it,” Krebs told KRQE-TV earlier this month.
Despite his attempt at justification, it appeared Krebs knew from the start the trip was an ethical no-no. The $65,000 bill was classified as a basketball tournament on UNM’s accounting paperwork, and Krebs failed to disclose the nature of the June 2015 trip to acting president Chaouki Abdallah until last week.
“VP Krebs came to me and told me that he wanted to tell me something that he had forgotten or did not tell me before,” Abdallah told KRQE. “I was not happy.”
It is not clear why the UNM Foundation or the Lobo Club, non-profits that handles the school’s and the athletics department’s fundraising efforts, respectively, did not cover the cost of the trip, especially since Lobo Club executive director Kole McKamey was one of the UNM officials who was on the trip. Putting the bill on the university’s ledger also appears to be a violation of the state’s anti-donation laws. The $24,000 cost to take the Albuquerque businessmen has since been refunded by an anonymous donor.
“(Krebs) told me about it in no uncertain terms,” Abdallah told said. “He didn’t try to sugarcoat it. He said I made a mistake. I didn’t tell you about it before. Here’s what happened. I’m going to try to fix it.”