New Mexico State Chancellor Stands by Athletic Director Amid Men’s Basketball Shutdown Controversy
Less than a week after New Mexico State’s men’s basketball program was shut down due to a culture of bad behavior, egregious violations of the student code of conduct, and other despicable acts, Chancellor Dan Arvizu expressed his confidence in Athletic Director Mario Moccia. At a news conference, Arvizu stated that he was confident that the actions that led to the cancellation of the season and the firing of head coach Greg Heiar were not reflective of the athletic department or the university as a whole.
According to Arvizu, their review suggests that the bad behavior was contained within the basketball program. This came on the heels of firing Heiar less than 24 hours before, whose program was hit by two scandals that are still under investigation. The most recent scandal involves hazing allegations against three teammates who attacked a player in the team locker room, as reported to campus police by the victim.
The first scandal involved the fatal shooting of a student at the University of New Mexico, which had roots in a fight that Peake and others were involved in at an Aggies football game a month earlier. Surveillance video of the incident shows New Mexico State player Mike Peake being shot at by that student and then responding by shooting the student as they ran through an apartment parking lot. Peake has been suspended from school but not charged in the incident, which is still under investigation.
Arvizu stated that players who are under investigation could face suspension from school or basketball or be exonerated. He added that guns are not permitted on university trips or on the campus, according to the chair of the board of regents.