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Weir was right: Lobo hoops’ grades not great

University of New Mexico men’s basketball coach Paul Weir gave an unsolicited heads up Wednesday at a press conference that his team’s grades were “nowhere near where they should be” during the just-concluded semester.

On Thursday, UNM revealed just how far away “nowhere near” is.

In an otherwise glowing report that highlighted record grade-point averages by several programs, men’s basketball skidded to a 2.24. No other UNM athletic program was close to being so low. Football — at 2.85, the second-best GPA in team history, was next lowest.

UNM said its men’s athletes were 2.98 overall, the women 3.48 overall, and the overall athletic student body came in at 3.19. UNM said Friday that the overall average GPA for all main-campus, degree-seeking undergraduate students this spring was 3.15.

Men’s golf (3.89) had the highest GPA in its team history. So did women’s soccer (3.77), indoor volleyball (3.56) and the fledgling beach volleyball program, which was a perfect 4.0. Beach volleyball had several cross-over athletes from other sports (mostly indoor volleyball). Seattle senior Eastyn Baleto was the specialist receiving beach volleyball academic aid, though former soccer player Maddie Irwin likely ended up on that aid list as well.

Women’s skiing (3.65) had Katharine Irwin, a junior named earlier in the day as a first-team All-American in a sport generally producing great achievers. She carries a 4.10 in biochemistry and molecular biology.

“Our student-athletes understand the commitment to excel on the field and in the classroom, and their effort into their classwork is a source of great pride for all Lobos,” athletic director Eddie Nuñez said in a school statement.

The report on academic performances comes as UNM deliberates how to reduce $1.9 million annually, effective in fiscal year 2020, in athletics, which has reported deficits in eight of the last 10 fiscal years. That number is expected to be nine of 11 years when this fiscal year ends at month’s end. UNM is expected to cut at least one athletic program as a result.

As for the dip in men’s basketball, which UNM said had a 3.06 GPA just last fall, there could be several mitigating factors that the school wouldn’t be allowed to discuss because of student privacy regulations.

The Journal, for example, asked if former Lobo forward Jachai Simmons’ departure from school twice during the past season to return home to New Jersey upon the death of his father had anything to do with the low GPA. UNM couldn’t comment.

The Journal also learned that Sam Logwood, who walked with his graduation class, didn’t complete coursework prior to his leaving for Mexico to begin a pro basketball career.

Also, men’s basketball academic adviser Keyana Smith left her job in February for a position at Ole Miss. She wasn’t replaced by semester’s end.

See UNM’s press release on the grades here.

UNM spring semester GPAs

Sport GPA

Baseball 2.97

M Basketball 2.24

Football 2.85

M. Golf 3.89

M Skiing 3.29

M Soccer 3.10

M Tennis 3.55

M Track/field 3.08

W Basketball 2.96

W Golf 3.69

W Track/field 3.38

Beach volleyball 4.00

W skiing 3.65

W soccer 3.77

Softball 3.21

Swim/diving 3.44

W tennis 3.58

Volleyball 3.56

Male athletes 2.98

Women athletes 3.48

Overall 3.19

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