Walk-on junior quarterback David Vega has been suspended indefinitely from the University of New Mexico football team for a second occasion, this time after his arrest Sunday on a petty misdemeanor charge of attempting to purchase alcohol while under the age of 21.
Vega, 20, from Roswell, also was charged with attempting to conceal his identity, also a petty misdemeanor.
Barely two weeks earlier, Vega had been suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules when the Lobos were training in Ruidoso. He later was reinstated.
After Tuesday’s practice, coach Bob Davie said his first reaction was to dismiss Vega outright because the player did not inform Davie of his arrest and because Vega had been suspended earlier. Davie learned of the incident from KRQE-TV, which contacted UNM sports information.
“I said, ‘You’re gone,’ ” Davie said of his initial conversation.
Later, Davie said, he and Vega talked again. Davie came away from the second conversation believing Vega might be innocent of the charges.
“I don’t know that I would have suspended him immediately,” Davie said, had it not been for Vega’s previous suspension and his failure to come forward.
Davie said he will allow Vega a chance to prove his innocence, “but he won’t be on this football team until he does. … The rest is all up to him.”
According to a criminal complaint, police were investigating a felony larceny complaint at a southwest Albuquerque residence. In the home, police found several beer cans and other alcoholic containers scattered about. Four occupants of the residence, all under 21, admitted to having consumed alcohol, police said.
Three of the individuals immediately provided identification. One refused to do so, police said, at which time he was arrested. Police searched the individual and found a New Mexico driver’s license in Vega’s name.
Vega was an all-state quarterback at Roswell Goddard, leading the Rockets to two Class 4A state tiles. He set school passing records at New Mexico Military Institute before transferring to UNM last spring.
Both before and after his first suspension, Davie praised Vega for his play in fall practice.
Staff writer Geoff Grammer contributed to this story.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal