UNM football coach to appeal suspension
David Lynch and Kassi Nelson
February 10, 2018 11:22 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In the wake of an external report that disputes claims the UNM football program interfered in criminal investigations, Lobo head coach Bob Davie says he plans to appeal a 30-day suspension imposed on him by the university on Thursday.
In a statement released through UNM Athletics, Davie reiterated that multiple investigations revolving around him did not find any evidence of policy violations. He also cites the Chicago-based law firm's report in saying that he wasn't even contacted by the firm after no specific evidence was found to back up the potential criminal obstruction.
Some of the claims the law firm of Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose specifically looked into involved allegations that Davie pushed players to participate in practice and games while injured, as well as acting improperly in regards to an investigation of criminal sexual assault involving UNM football players.
A preliminary investigation sparked in the fall by UNM and headed up by a retired judge found witnesses who claimed Davie, during an all-team meeting, suggested his players "get some dirt on this whore" in regards to the alleged sexual assault victim.
But the Hogan investigation – which involved interviewed with current and former Lobo players – found the firm "cannot conclude that coaches or staff members of the football program obstructed any criminal investigations."
In his statement, Davie said no investigators ever asked him about the comments he allegedly made in the team meeting.
"So there is no misunderstanding, never did I make that or any similar comment," he said.
Another incident the firm looked into involved alleged domestic abuse by a Lobo football player which did not result in criminal charges being filed.
The judge in that investigation "indicated there was a concern that the incident had been 'covered up' by the football program," but Hogan in its follow-up probe said they couldn't confirm the allegations.
The Hogan report did acknowledge widespread issues within the Athletic Department and the university as a whole in regards to students' faith in UNM to address concerns of safety and reports of alleged sexual misconduct on campus.
That sentiment echoes similar findings by the Department of Justice in 2016, which, following a broad investigation, recommended UNM take vast measures to streamline the process of reporting sexual harassment.
Another investigation, by UNM's Office of Equal Opportunity, found that although there was "sufficient evidence" to back up three separate incidents of alleged racial-based discrimination against players, they did not violate university policy, nor has it been a continuing regular issue during Davie's tenure.
In order for Davie's appeal to be considered, he must submit a written petition to the Board of Regents, which has a maximum of 90 days to decide whether to grant it.
Below is Bob Davie's full 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.
As the allegations swirl around Davie, quarterback Coltin Gerhart said the team is focused on the game.
“It’s the first day of spring ball and we just heard about that, but we came out here, had a good day and I think it’s out of our control and it will all shake out,” he said.
The team stepped on the field for their first spring practice Friday. Davie was there despite his 30-day suspension. Players said he talked to the team about it at practice.
“It was shocking, I didn’t think stuff was going to happen to Davie,” quarterback Tevaka Tuioti said.
Davie went in front of cameras today to talk about the season. When he was asked about the allegations against him he wouldn’t say much. He’s already appealed his suspension to the Board of Regents.
He doesn't believe it will be a distraction for his team.
"I can't say that it's changed at all, in particular for the players," he said. "I've kept them transparent from the beginning when it first came to my attention. The new guys that have come in, I addressed it today because there was some kind of true direction to it. So I don't think so. I'm not trying to minimize it. I just don't really think it is."
Davie wouldn’t say when he filed that appeal. According to university policy, the board has 90 days from the date that appeal was filed to make their decision.
Gerhart said no matter what happens, it’s something they’ll get through together.
“We discuss it and we go on the field and do what we came here to do,” he said.
David Lynch and Kassi Nelson
Updated: February 10, 2018 11:22 AM
Created: February 09, 2018 03:03 PM
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