The men’s basketball season at New Mexico State University was halted on Sunday following the release of a police report detailing three players ganging up on and attacking a teammate in a case that includes allegations of false imprisonment, harassment, and criminal sexual contact.
“It’s time for this programme to reset,” chancellor Dan Arvizu said in a statement announcing the season’s end.
Arvizu stated that the shutdown was prompted by a report filed by a player against three teammates to campus police on Friday. According to the report, on Feb. 6, his teammates “removed his clothing, exposing his buttocks, and began to slap his buttocks” (buttocks). He also stated that they had touched his scrotum.”
The victim, whose name, like the names of the other players, was redacted in the report, claimed that other incidents involving inappropriate physical and sexual touching had occurred in locker rooms and on road trips since last summer. In the most recent incident, the victim told police that he had no choice but to let it happen “because it’s a 3-on-1 type of situation.”
“This action is clearly needed, especially after receiving additional facts and reviewing investigation reports related to the hazing allegations involving student-athletes on the team,” said Arvizu, who will leave the university in June after regents decided not to renew his contract.
“We must protect our students’ safety and the integrity of our university,” said Arvizu, who suspended the programme on Friday before revealing what he called hazing allegations a day later.
He stated that he had spoken with the Western Athletic Conference commissioner, who stated that the conference was reviewing how to treat the six New Mexico State games that will be dropped from the schedule in terms of seeding for the conference tournament next month.
According to the report, the victim went to campus police to report a possible assault but did not wish to press criminal charges at this time.
The allegations come less than three months after the suspension of forward Mike Peake, who is being investigated in connection with the fatal shooting of a University of New Mexico student on Nov. 19 in Albuquerque.
Peake has not been charged in that case, which included state police stopping the team bus on Interstate 25 shortly after the shooting on its way back to Las Cruces. Peake and three of his teammates, who had taken him to the hospital with an injured leg, were missing from the bus.
New Mexico State finished 9-15, with only two conference victories in 12 games. The Aggies, who have a 13,000-student campus in Las Cruces, have been to eight NCAA tournaments since 2007. Next season, they will transition from the WAC to Conference USA.
The next major decision for this programme appears to be coming Tuesday, when the university regents will meet in closed session to discuss “limited personnel matters concerning individual employees.” It did not identify the employees who would be discussed. The meeting was scheduled on Saturday, the day after Arvizu suspended the season and placed coach Greg Heiar and his staff on administrative leave.
The 2022-23 season was cancelled a day after two players resigned following initial reports of the hazing incident.
Redshirt freshman Shahar Lazar said he was leaving because “the programme that I originally committed to does not align with my beliefs and core values.”