Even the company being paid to handle marketing their name and likeness can fall into the old UNM/NMSU confusion fiasco that has become commonplace among sports media outside the Land of Enchantment.
What isn’t confusing is just how dominant the teams coached by the University of New Mexico’s Joe Franklin continue to be for Lobo athletics.
Last week, the final 2017-18 Learfield Directors’ Cup standings were unveiled. The Learfield Directors’ Cup is a competition for college athletics departments with standings that reward teams who make and have success in the postseason. It gives an advantage for athletic departments that field a large number of sports (this year, a school could count scores in 19 sports for the competition).
What last week’s final standings, or at least the first version of the final standings, didn’t do was give New Mexico State its 25 points for its baseball team making the NCAA Tournament, instead giving those points to the UNM Lobos.
And a June 7 update of the standings, which still was posted on the Cup’s website as of Tuesday night, the Lobos were also receiving points for NMSU’s softball team trip to the NCAA Tournament, though those points were fixed by the time the first version of the final standings were posted.
What the baseball mixup meant was the Lobos erroneously were ranked 58th (they are now 64th), which would have been tops in the Mountain West. Now they are No. 2, trailing No. 59 Boise State.
Correction of the mixup meant NMSU jumped from 141 to 124, tops in the WAC (no WAC schools have 19 sports).
UNM’s corrected final total of 373.25 points came via six sports, five of them coached by Franklin and accounted for more than 304 of the points:
• Women’s cross country: 100 points (national champion)
• Ski team (combined men’s and women’s): 69 points (7th place nationally)
• Women’s indoor track & field: 66.75 points
• Women’s outdoor track & field: 56.5 points
• Men’s indoor track & field: 51 points
• Men’s outdoor track & field: 30 points
NMSU’s 145 total points came via five teams:
• Football: 45 points
• Men’s basketball: 25 points
• Baseball: 25 points
• Softball: 25 points
• Men’s tennis: 25 points
National media mixing up the Lobos and Aggies has become commonplace in recent years. Even the Western Athletic Conference earlier this spring posted a postseason highlight video on social media patting the Aggies women’s basketball team on the back – but displaying video of a UNM women’s game.
Both UNM and NMSU are under multi-year sponsorship and multimedia rights contracts with Learfield, a Texas-based company that reports it is in partnership with “more than 120 collegiate institutions.”
As part of UNM’s contract with Learfield, the Lobos were to receive about $4.8 million for the 2018 fiscal year that ended June 30. NMSU received about $1 million per year in its Learfield contract.