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Athletics investigation could cost UNM up to $37,000

The University of New Mexico will spend up to $37,000 for an independent investigation and legal analysis of complaints regarding coaching techniques and drug-rule enforcement within its athletic department, according to a newly released contract.

The contract between UNM and former federal judge Bruce Black does not specify whom Black is investigating, but independent journalist Daniel Libit reported earlier this month that it involves the university’s head football coach, Bob Davie.

The university has declined to identify the investigation’s subject, saying in a statement issued by spokeswoman Cinnamon Blair it would not discuss “the details or the individuals involved until the investigation is complete.” Interim President Chaouki Abdallah has confirmed he authorized the investigation.

Davie has not commented, saying he will do so at the appropriate time.

UNM earlier this year contracted Black to investigate anonymous complaints regarding former regent Jack Fortner’s use of university resources, but made no effort to conceal his identity in the agreement. The contract not only named Fortner, it also detailed the allegations and included a list of witnesses. (Black ultimately determined Fortner had not violated any policies or laws.)

This time, UNM has contracted Black for “initial and preliminary fact-finding of certain complaints” about unnamed athletic department employees. The focus includes alleged policy and department rule violations and “an examination of the culture within the sport where the compliant(s) originated. In particular, focus on issues relating to 1) permissible coaching techniques and 2) enforcement of department rules regarding use of illegal drugs and drug testing.”

The investigation should conclude by Oct. 31 and will be done “on a confidential basis.” UNM will pay Black $200 per hour up to $25,000, plus reimburse his related travel expenses up to $12,000.

The Office of University Counsel at UNM and School of Law co-Dean Alfred Mathewson will direct Black’s work, getting “periodic oral reports,” according to the contract the Journal obtained through an Inspection of Public Records Act request.

Black’s investigation itself will not lead to any personnel action or student discipline “without further investigation and verification” by the university or its attorneys, the contract says.

“Basically, the purpose of the preliminary investigation is to decide whether or not a more detailed investigation is needed,” Blair said.

The contract stipulates that the investigation is “in addition to, and not in place of, any investigation being conducted by the UNM Office of Equal Opportunity.”

Blair would not confirm an OEO investigation into the same complaints, saying the university cannot comment on OEO activity.

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