NMSU Board of Regents settles basketball hazing lawsuit for $8M

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The NMSU Board of Regents will pay a total of $8 million to two former basketball players alleging unchecked hazing, according to the state’s sunshine portal.

The players and one of their dads brought on civil lawsuits, sharing specific alleged incidents and accusing coaches of not stepping in to stop the assaults.

One of the players agreed Friday to a $3.875 million settlement. Meanwhile, the other player and his dad agreed Thursday to a $4.125 million settlement.

As a part of the settlements, the defendants “expressly deny any liability” which means the university will also not admit to any wrongdoing.

Among the defendants were former NMSU coach Greg Heiar, former NMSU assistant coach Dominique Taylor and several other former NMSU basketball players.

An NMSU spokesperson sent KOB 4 the following statement Tuesday:

“New Mexico State University has reached a settlement agreement with William Benjamin, Deuce Benjamin and Shakiru Odunewu. We’re pleased this situation has now come to a resolution and all parties are able to move forward. Our university has more than 400 student-athletes who are making a positive difference each day in the classroom, on their teams and in our community.”

An attorney for Heiar said he never got to share his version of events. The university also hired an outside law firm to investigate the hazing allegations.

University leaders said these same alleged incidents are the reason why they canceled the men’s basketball team’s season in February.

The attorney general’s office is still investigating for possible criminal charges.