New Mexico State Division I men's basketball team cancels season
Content warning: This section contains mention of hazing and sexual assault.
The GIST: ICYMI on yesterday’s episode of The GIST of It, New Mexico State announced on Sunday that it had canceled the rest of its Division I men’s basketball team’s season due to hazing and sexual abuse allegations against multiple team members.
The allegations: A player, who chose to remain anonymous, told campus police that three of his teammates forcibly held him down in a February 6th hazing incident that included false imprisonment and criminal sexual contact. The survivor also said similar attacks had occurred in locker rooms and on road trips since the summer. Horrifying.
The response: The school immediately placed first-year head coach (HC) Greg Heiar and the entire coaching staff on paid administrative leave on Friday, and the team was called back to campus from their Saturday road game vs. Cal Baptist to be interviewed by university investigators.
- After reviewing the police report, the university chancellor made the unprecedented decision to officially cancel the rest of the season on Sunday, saying, “It’s time for this program to reset.” No kidding.
The first controversy: The defending Western Athletic Conference champs have already been playing under a black cloud. In November 2022, junior forward Mike Peake shot and killed a student at rival New Mexico in what police eventually deemed self-defense. However, NMSU coaches and staff were found to be, at best, uncooperative in that investigation.
- HC Heiar had the squad skip town on a university bus in the aftermath, even though police had asked to interview players. Officers eventually found several pieces of evidence, including the gun (!!!), in the team staff’s possession. WTF.
Zooming out: While NMSU’s swift cancellation was the right decision, more needs to be done to address their toxic hazing culture, including, hopefully, a coaching change. In the meantime, athletes have already begun to bail, with three separately announcing their departures on social media this weekend.