SANTA FE — Members of the University of New Mexico men’s soccer team visited the Roundhouse on Monday to express thanks to lawmakers and other supporters who are trying to save the team from elimination.
It was “UNM Day” at the Legislature, but some members of the team — which had its spring season canceled by UNM — set out on their own to meet officials throughout the day.
The UNM Board of Regents last year voted to eliminate the soccer team, among others, as part of an effort to save money and bring the Athletics Department into compliance with federal mandates on equal opportunity for female athletes.
But top-ranking lawmakers — and other opponents — said the university rushed the decision and wasn’t open to other ideas. A proposal, House Bill 320, has been introduced that would provide $2 million to reinstate sports teams and impose new financial reporting requirements on the Athletics Department.
Men’s soccer player Ford Parker, a 22-year-old from Albuquerque, said the team is incredibly important to the community, especially kids who play soccer.
“I grew up wanting to be a Lobo,” Parker said in an interview.