New Mexico regents deny Bob Davie's appeal of 30-day suspension (Update)

Sam Cooper
New Mexico coach Bob Davie after speaking to running back Richard McQuarley (3) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Utah State in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
New Mexico coach Bob Davie after speaking to running back Richard McQuarley (3) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Utah State in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Update: Feb. 16 – 1:40 p.m.

New Mexico says Bob Davie’s 30-day suspension begins on Saturday and ends March 18. Defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove will serve as acting head coach. The Lobos started spring practice this week.

“I notified Coach Davie that Saturday, February 17, he would begin a 30-day consecutive unpaid suspension from coaching the UNM football program,” said UNM athletic director Eddie Nunez. “We also discussed how we must work together to improve our culture within the athletic department and throughout the UNM campus. I told Coach Davie and players that we have an obligation to begin rewriting our own public perception.”

Nunez, who was hired in August, also offered the following sentiments in a statement:

“I told Coach Davie and Lobo players that I have no way of knowing what happened in the past. I cannot address what anyone said or did, other than what I read in the reports and what I have heard from Coach Davie. However, I told them it is now undeniable that there currently exists a public perception that our football program needs to be honestly evaluated. Attitudes or a culture that permits racial, gender, religious, or any other form of discrimination, harassment or bullying will not be acceptable in this department, period.

“Many institutions in America are being asked to take stock of their attitudes and culture. An unwillingness to do so, and make changes when necessary, would be foolish and counterproductive. Not assuming responsibility and accountability to correct errors, or even misconceptions, is not an option.”

Original story: Feb. 14 – 11:20 a.m.

The University of New Mexico Board of Regents moved Tuesday to deny the appeal filed by Lobos head coach Bob Davie.

Davie, coming off his seventh season with the program, was given a 30-day suspension without pay by the university last week following multiple investigations into alleged misconduct within his football program. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the UNM regents voted 6-0 to uphold the suspension. It is unclear when Davie’s suspension will begin. The Lobos began spring practice this week.

Chaouki Abdallah, UNM’s interim president, announced the suspension for Davie at the conclusion of two investigations into Davie’s program — one by UNM’s Office of Equal Opportunity and another by Chicago law firm Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose, which was hired by the university.

Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose looked into how the football program responded to three instances of alleged assault by football players. Ultimately, following a two-month query, the law firm could not conclude that Davie or any members of his football staff obstructed police or university investigations. However, the firm — which did not interview Davie — recommended improved leadership from senior university officials, as well as an increased commitment to compliance with Title IX.

The Office of Equal Opportunity looked into concerns that Davie discriminated against players based on race, but determined the coach did not violate university harassment policies. Its report, which included interviews with Davie and an array of witnesses, did raise concerns about following civil rights reporting and protocol, however.

“Both (investigations) identified blind-spots as well as instances where UNM policies have been violated and outdated practices persist regarding University reporting processes. Although UNM has clear policies, procedures and options for reporting misconduct and has made important progress in simplifying these options, gaps still exist. We will close the gaps and will not accept confusion or ignorance of policies as an excuse. Behavior that violates our policies will not be tolerated. We will intensify our efforts to educate our campus community and change the culture of accountability within the University,” Abdallah said.

“UNM will quickly implement changes and corrective action, and will provide comprehensive training to all areas of the University. I am committed to providing a safe campus, with fair processes for all, and look forward to ensuring that our policies and procedures are enforced and adhered to, and our culture supports all Lobos and the greater campus community.”

In one of the three cases, which centered on an alleged rape, a witness said that Davie encouraged his team to “get some dirt” on the alleged victim. In his statement announcing his intent to appeal the suspension, Davie denied that allegation. Charges in the case were dropped because the alleged victim withdrew from the university and left the state.

“While I do not think it is appropriate to discuss specifics of the investigation at this time, I will respond to one several troubling allegations,” the statement read. “Apparently some unnamed person has claimed that during a team meeting I told the players to ‘get some dirt on this [victim]’. None of the investigators told me about this claim or asked me if I ever made this remark. So there is no misunderstanding, never did I make that or any similar comment.”

The New Mexico Attorney General said last week that he plans to expand a separate investigation into the UNM athletic department.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!