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Letter: Legislature can restore sports cut at UNM

Men’s soccer, men’s and women’s skiing, beach volleyball and the reduction of scholarships for men and women’s track and cross-country teams must be kept whole.

As a former UNM scholarship student athlete and letterman in track; a past UNM administrator and faculty; attained each of my three academic degrees at UNM; and inducted into the UNM Alumni Lettermen’s Athletic Hall of Honor, I feel compelled to do what I can to save these sports programs.

The final decision made by UNM President Garnett Stokes, Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez and ratified by the regents, is not technically the final decision. It will be if we allow it. Our state legislators can keep this calamity from happening. I have personally met with President Stokes and Mr. Nuñez. I believe they made the correct decision based on extenuating and frightening circumstances. Neither had anything to do with the apparent collapse of sound judgment and administrative competency demonstrated by the past athletic department administration. They both inherited this financial crisis. The facts seem to point to questionable fiscal management and poor oversight.

It will take a collective effort to rectify this situation. Therefore, I spoke with state Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas and asked that he assemble a group of bipartisan legislators and schedule a meeting to further discuss a strategy that will achieve our desired result. Legislators can earmark specific recurring funds to save these sports programs. Rep. Maestas and other legislators publicly stated that no one formally asked them to earmark such funding. Well, I am formally asking NOW!!

I will commit to contacting Democratic and Republican legislators to step up and do the right thing for our young adults. They perform for us and simultaneously engage their academic endeavors. They deserve our support.

Former Albuquerque Mayor R.J. Berry, a former UNM track athlete, has agreed to work with me to ascertain bipartisan support for this funding initiative. Anyone who wishes to partner with us to achieve desired results, contact me at baileyhb65a@hotmail.com.

Lastly, three things are more important than this effort to seek funding:

1. Keeping our commitment to support student athletes who made a decision to commit to UNM sports programs.

2. Keeping our commitment to the parents and families of these student athletes.

3. Maintaining our institutional credibility and integrity.

Go Lobos!!!!!

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