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UNM Board of Regents won’t accept football coach’s appeal

Bob Davie’s suspension will stand.

The University of New Mexico Board of Regents decided Tuesday not to accept the head football coach’s appeal of the unpaid 30-day suspension levied last week by interim President Chaouki Abdallah following multiple investigations involving Davie and the program.

UNM football coach Bob Davie

The regents voted 6-0 in executive session. Student Regent Garrett Adcock, a former UNM football player, abstained.
The coach said late Tuesday afternoon that he remained unaware of the board’s decision.

“I haven’t heard a word from anybody. I’m just as confused as maybe somebody else would be,” he said. “I don’t know.”

A UNM spokeswoman said the university sent a letter to Davie’s attorney on Tuesday afternoon.

Abdallah announced the suspension Thursday after UNM released results of the investigations. UNM hired the Chicago law firm Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose to pursue allegations that football staff interfered with police and university investigations into assault cases involving their players and to also look into allegations that coaches made injured athletes play over the advice of medical staff.

In a separate case, the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity had launched an investigation based on concerns Davie discriminated against players based on race.

Abdallah told the Journal before Tuesday’s vote that the suspension had been his decision based on his determination Davie had violated some university policies. He said he did not specifically consult with the regents about the punishment but had kept them informed about the status of the investigation.

Abdallah hasn’t announced when Davie’s suspension will begin.

UNM athletics spokesperson Frank Mercogliano told the Journal that it is “business as usual” at Wednesday’s spring football practice and that Davie would talk to media after practice.

Hogan Marren, which never interviewed Davie, said it “cannot conclude” the football staff inappropriately interfered with investigations and did not find evidence that staff forced athletes to play against medical staff guidance.

OEO, which interviewed Davie and more than 30 witnesses, determined Davie’s race-related comments did not rise to the level of violating the university’s policy on harassment and hostile environment.

But its report stated it found “significant environment concerns and failure to follow civil rights reporting and protocol.”

UNM regents’ policy provides staff the ability to appeal administrative decisions to the board, which has discretion on whether to hear them. The board has 90 days to render a final decision.

Regent President Rob Doughty said “the Board of Regents have decided not to accept Coach Davie’s discretionary appeal” under that policy. He would not comment further.

Abdallah said he did not intentionally delay announcing his decision to suspend Davie until after the national signing day for recruits.

He publicly revealed the punishment Thursday despite having informed Davie earlier in the week. UNM signed several future players the day before, which raised suspicion about the timing.

“I didn’t even know what signing day was when I talked to him first,” Abdallah told the Journal on Tuesday.

Abdallah said he would have waited even longer to announce the suspension except that Thursday was UNM’s deadline to produce related records to the Journal under a formal public records request.