Bob Davie has spoken.
Late Thursday afternoon, New Mexico confirmed that it had suspended its head football coach for 30 days without pay. The suspension stemmed from a trio of investigations into allegations against Davie and the football program, with one of those probes encouraging UNM leadership to “take strong action to ensure that the University does not and will not — in any aspect of the University’s program, including athletics — tolerate sexual harassment, sexual assault, physical abuse or other prohibited misconduct against its students.”
One of the most damning allegations involved a female student reporting to university police that she was raped by a Lobos football player. After Davie caught wind of the alleged attack, the coach allegedly “held an all-team meeting in which he told the players to ‘get some dirt on this whore.'”
It was also alleged that Davie “used racist slurs during practice, and physically abused an injured athlete.”
In response to the suspension and allegations, Davie released the following statement:
Over the past nine months the University has conducted three investigations involving the football program dating back to 2012. None of these three investigations determined that I had violated any University policy. I have appealed the suspension imposed by Interim President Abdallah to the Board of Regents.
I fully cooperated in every respect and met multiple times with the investigators, but was never asked to meet with or provide information to Hogan. 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.”
While I do not think it is appropriate to discuss specifics of the investigation at this time, I will respond to one of several troubling allegations. Apparently some unnamed person has claimed that during a team meeting I told the players to “get some dirt on this [victim]”. None of the investigators told me about this claim or asked me if I ever made this remark. So there is no misunderstanding, never did I make that or any similar comment.
If there’s a red flag phrase for any college administrator, it’s this one: “amid multiple investigations into the athletics department.” And on Thursday, amid a trio of investigations into the athletics department, New Mexico announced it has suspended head football coach Bob Davie for 30 days without pay.
New Mexico was first investigated by retired federal judge Bruce Black, which begat an investigation by the Chicago law firm Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose, and it was upon their report that New Mexico suspended Davie on Thursday.
But wait, there’s more: New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas announced Thursday he will expand his ongoing investigation into the athletics department Thursday. His statement:
“We will never tolerate a university culture that denies students their basic rights through illegal discrimination or retaliation against those who report sexual misconduct. Our criminal and civil investigation into the University of New Mexico includes the handling of these issues and we are reviewing the actions of officials from top to bottom and any other organizations involved.”
The report, summarized here by the Albuquerque Journal, does not point to a smoking gun, but instead points to an overall culture around the program in which proper procedure and protocol were not followed. In one instance, Davie met with a UNM police officer in an attempt to discredit a rape accusation against a Lobo football player.
A statement from the school:
“Both (investigations) identified blind-spots as well as instances where UNM policies have been violated and outdated practices persist regarding University reporting processes. Although UNM has clear policies, procedures and options for reporting misconduct and has made important progress in simplifying these options, gaps still exist. We will close the gaps and will not accept confusion or ignorance of policies as an excuse. Behavior that violates our policies will not be tolerated. We will intensify our efforts to educate our campus community and change the culture of accountability within the University.
The law firm’s report did not find instances in which coaches or players actively obstructed into ongoing criminal investigations of UNM athletes but concluded that the school should “take strong action to ensure that the University does not and will not — in any aspect of the University’s program, including athletics — tolerate sexual harassment, sexual assault, physical abuse or other prohibited misconduct against its students.” Davie was not interviewed by the firm, the report stated.
Davie, 63, recently completed his sixth season as the Lobos’ head coach. After more than a decade away from coaching, Davie is 30-45 with two bowl appearances with the Lobos. New Mexico went 3-9 in 2017.
Davie made $822,690 in 2017, according to the USA Today salary database, equating to a fine of roughly $68,000 in going a month without pay.
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.