Courtesy of Myron Medcalf, ESPN
New Mexico State men’s basketball has canceled Saturday’s game at Cal Baptist and suspended its season indefinitely following “new allegations” within the program, according to a statement from the school.
The new allegations have prompted an investigation by the school and led to the coaching staff being put on paid administrative leave, the statement said.
The Aggies have been embroiled in controversy since November, when forward Mike Peake shot and killed a New Mexico student in self-defense in Albuquerque after he’d been lured to the campus. Per the school’s statement, Friday’s decision to suspend the season is separate from that case.
“New Mexico State University is suspending operations for the men’s basketball program until further notice,” the school’s statement said Friday. “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 being investigated, the men’s basketball coaching staff has been placed on paid administrative leave. The game scheduled for February 11 against California Baptist will not be played.”
NMSU is just 9-15 this season in Greg Heiar’s first season.
“The New Mexico State University Board of Regents were informed this evening of the suspension of operations for the men’s basketball program,” the NMSU Board of Regents said in a statement. “The board supports the action taken by the university leaders and is confident a full and thorough investigation will be conducted.”
After the Peake incident, multiple NMSU staffers took possession of Peake’s gun and other potential evidence that was later recovered by New Mexico State police. Heiar, fearing retaliation for the shooting, left town without having three NMSU players who’d picked Peake up after the shooting and transported him to the hospital to talk to police. Their bus was stopped on a highway as it traveled back to Las Cruces.
Lorenzo Jenkins, who serves as a special assistant to Heiar, had Peake’s tablet in a backpack. An unnamed New Mexico State administrator had his phone, state police said. The gun used in the shooting was located at the team hotel in Albuquerque, where assistant coach Dominique Taylor had it wrapped in a towel after Heiar called him and told him that Avery, Muhammad and Roy could tell him where to find the weapon.
It’s unclear how and where the items were transported after the shooting.
The school and the Albuquerque district attorney have both launched separate investigations into the incident and the actions of staffers, coaches and players after the shooting.
ESPN’s attempts to gather personnel files on coaches and staffers at NMSU have been repeatedly delayed by the school in recent months. A lawyer with the school said it would respond by Feb. 6 to the request but the school did not release the personnel files. The school’s original investigation after the Peake shooting and aftermath was “ongoing” as of late January, per Justin Bannister, NMSU associate vice president of communications.