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UNM football: Davie suspension begins Saturday

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bob Davie’s 30-day suspension without pay will begin Saturday, UNM President Chaouki Abdallah announced Thursday evening.

The University of New Mexico football coach had said on Wednesday he’d been assured the suspension, levied by Abdallah stemming from three separate investigations into Davie’s conduct, would not begin until after UNM’s 15-session spring practice was completed sometime next month.

Abdallah, however, decided otherwise.

“I want to emphasize that our commitment is to cultivate a culture built upon respect and transparency at this university,” Abdallah said in a statement.

It was not known Thursday how the remaining spring workouts will be conducted in Davie’s absence. Session No. 4 is scheduled for this morning. Davie is a “CEO” head coach, in that he doesn’t coordinate the offense or defense and isn’t a position coach. Thursday evening, Davie deferred all comments to athletic director Eddie Nuñez.

According to the release, Nuñez will determine coaching assignments during the suspension period.

“My current focus is to communicate with members of the coaching staff and players in order to determine the direction of the program, support our student-athletes, and maintain continuity within the football program,” Nuñez said.

“I am committed to making the UNM athletic department responsible, accountable, and a leader in diversity and inclusion.”

On Feb. 8, upon the release of investigation reports from the UNM Office of Equal Opportunity and the Chicago law firm Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose, Abdallah announced that Davie would be suspended.

Earlier, retired federal judge Bruce Black had submitted to Abdallah the findings of his own investigation.

The day after Abdallah’s announcement, Davie appealed the suspension to the UNM Board of Regents. But on Tuesday, the Regents voted unanimously not to consider Davie’s appeal.

The OEO report dealt principally with complaints that Davie had made racial remarks to players, in particular the use of the n-word. Davie has denied ever doing so.

The Hogan Marren report dealt principally with allegations that Davie had interfered with criminal investigations involving UNM football players.

Davie was not interviewed by Hogan Marren.

Not citing a specific reason, Abdallah opted to suspend him among other measures to be taken in order to “change the culture of accountability within the University.”

THE RE-DO: UNM’s Board of Regents will meet Monday to re-vote on Davie’s appeal — a necessity since the board’s previous vote occurred behind closed doors, constituting a violation of New Mexico’s Open Meetings Act.

The regents — who had voted 6-0 not to accept Davie’s appeal on Tuesday — will now convene at 8 a.m. Monday to address it again. The agenda calls the session a “follow-up” to Tuesday’s meeting “during which University Counsel erroneously advised members that final action on a personnel matter could be ratified in Closed Session.”

While the board can discuss the matter in executive session, it must vote publicly.

Staff writer Jessica Dyer contributed to this report.