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Price of early Lobo football practice not as much as reported to Regents

 

The University of New Mexico football program paid an extra $30,699 for the additional week of preseason practice allowed this year by the NCAA, UNM’s assistant athletic director for football operations said — not $100,000, as stated on Tuesday at a Board of Regents Finance and Facilities Committee meeting.

“I don’t know where the $100,000 came from that was reported,” Brian DeSpain told the Journal. “I went back and looked at everything I had submitted to (UNM administration), from projections to historical calculations to whatever, and I couldn’t come up with anything that would have been $100,000.”

Two days after the Board of Regents meeting, through UNM’s sports information department, UNM associate vice president Chris Vallejos said he had been in error when he told the Regents that the extra week would cost $100,000. He attributed the error to a misunderstanding.

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DeSpain said Vallejos had acknowledged the mistake in a conversation between the two men.

In April, the NCAA passed legislation banning two-a-day practices. In exchange, schools were allowed to start preseason practice a week earlier than in the past.

The Lobos’ first practice was on Thursday, July 27, though the team was assembled and served a meal the previous day.

DeSpain said the program’s expenses for the extra week actually totaled $44,499. But he said the program saved $4,800 in summer training table meals because summer school was in session for six days of preseason practice.

Also, DeSpain said, the team will be off for six days throughout the course of preseason camp, resulting in savings of about $9,000.

Vallejos’ reference to the $100,000 came during a discussion of the difficulty of budgeting in light of recent changes in NCAA rules.

“Here’s a perfect example that sort of blind-sided athletics this year,” he said at the Board of Regents meeting. “They did away, they outlawed two-a-days. So we’re able to bring in our football team five days (earlier) to compensate for those two-a-days we were doing, but that’s costing us $100,000 because our food service and residence halls aren’t ready for their acceptance, so we have to house and feed these student-athletes, and that’s sort of a compliance issue. Those are some of the things going on.”

DeSpain said the football program had to pay for housing only twice, on July 31 and Aug. 1, during the extra week.

“The (summer school) term officially ended on Monday the 31st,” he said, “so that was the first day we were allowed to give them a housing stipend. Summer scholarship checks covered the nights before that.”

Players receive a housing stipend for any night they’re required to be at the athletic complex when school is not in session, DeSpain said.

Under coach Bob Davie, the Lobos have rarely practiced twice in one day as teams traditionally did in the past.

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