UNM report: Misconduct claims against suspended coach don't violate policy
Marian Camacho and David Lynch
February 09, 2018 04:10 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A detailed report by the University of New Mexico's Office of Equal Opportunity outlines an alleged history of physical abuse and racist behavior involving head football coach Bob Davie.
The OEO – an independent entity that ensures compliance with university policies in regards to civil rights – states in its report it found "sufficient evidence" to support allegations of three separate claims against Davie, but that there was no evidence that "race-based or inappropriate comments" were made on a regular basis during this tenure.
As a result, the report states, there were no violations of UNM's discrimination policy. But the OEO did find that there is "a general lack of accountability among Athletic Department staff for addressing concerns within the football program," and suggested staff be trained to understand that any civil rights concerns should go directly to the OEO.
Meanwhile, Davie denied the claims outlined in the report by OEO interviewees, saying that in an environment of "egos and competition" such as athletics, people will "put the blame on someone else" if they "don't achieve what (they) should have or family thought they should."
The report shows that in May of 2017 a member of the Faculty Athletic Council brought concerns to light that were presented by graduating UNM football players. The council, made up of faculty members at the university, conducts exit interviews with athletes sans representation from the Athletic Department.
The OEO interviewed 35 witnesses, including three council members involved in exit interviews.
The council members reported players informed them during those exit interviews about an incident that happened during a football camp in Ruidoso over the summer. They alleged that during the camp, four African American players were sitting on a golf cart and Davie walked over and asked them “What are you doing on a white man’s tractor?”
The players also reported an argument Davie had with a former player during which he said to the player, “I’m your n-word.” Multiple witnesses said Davie has used the n-word. Players said other coaches did not use the word.
The report shows one former football player expressed his frustration saying Davie is the “highest-paid state employee and has a lot of power” and that his treatment of players was similar to hazing. In one instance, the player detailed an account he says he witnessed in which Davie grabbed a Caucasian player by the neck and throat because he was angry.
Another witness described his time as a part of UNM’s football program as “miserable” and “stressful.”
A former assistant coach who identifies as African-American told investigators that he was “truly frustrated, agitated,” by the overall environment of the football program and had “never experienced anything like this coach.”
WHAT IS THE 'BLOOD DIAMOND'?
In the OEO report, five witnesses the office talked to referenced something called "the blood diamond." A former player and graduate assistant for the program said at one point he and others told a teammate "that was not right" in a conversation seemingly referencing the "blood diamond."
The report later states the office found evidence to support what the "blood diamond" was referring to, but that information was redacted when the report was provided to KOB. Other portions of the report in which witnesses seem to be referencing the so-called "blood diamond" are heavily redacted.
Davie denied ever hearing about a "blood diamond" prior to his meeting with the OEO.
A 'VERY TOXIC ENVIRONMENT'
Former UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs was included in the investigation. During his interview with the OEO, Krebs stated that the only OEO-related report he received was in the past spring of 2017 when the council brought to light the comments made by players stating Davie made “racially insensitive” comments.
Krebs – who retired in June amid controversy over fiscal mismanagement withing UNM Athletics – added that authority within the department is "not respect," leading to a "very toxic environment with no trust."
The OEO conducted several interviews with current Lobo football coaches, all of whom said they have not experienced any discriminatory conduct.
But some former UNM Athletics staff members say they have heard accounts of "negative interactions" within the department "after (Davie) became the head coach," some of which involve potential physical harm.
Marian Camacho and David Lynch
Updated: February 09, 2018 04:10 PM
Created: February 09, 2018 10:21 AM
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