Politicians Step In

July 24, 2018

After the Board of Regents voted to cut four sports at the University of New Mexico, five politicians have said they will help. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the decision to cut the sports came after nearly a decade of financial difficulty in the UNM Athletics Department.

“At this point in time, we as legislators are coming forward to say there’s an opportunity to talk,” Sheryl Williams Stapleton, House Majority Leader, said. “There’s an opportunity to negotiate. And at this point in time, let’s make it happen.”

The teams on the line include men’s soccer, men’s and women’s ski, and women’s beach volleyball; the diving portion of the women’s swimming and diving team would also be cut. Finally, the men’s cross country and track and field teams would have their rosters reduced by nearly 50%.

With the Lobos’ financial struggles spanning several years, the regents approved a plan that would reduce sports by $1.9 million by 2019. There have been questions regarding why House Bill 2, the state’s appropriations bill, has approved a higher level of funding for New Mexico State University Athletics compared with UNM Athletics. In the latest budget, NMSU received $3,117,600 whereas UNM received $2,617,300.

“For the past several years, since the significant differential in recurring appropriations between UNM and NMSU was instituted, UNM has requested HAFC (House Appropriations and Finance Committee) add-ons and Senate Finance Committee amendments to House Bill 2 in order to equalize the state appropriate for Division 1 schools,” David Harris, UNM’s Executive Vice President for Finance, said. “We anticipate making this request once again in 2019."

Thus far, having the men's soccer team on the list of teams to be cut has generated the most attention. The lawmakers that have rallied to save the sports are confident the Lobo squad will stay on the field.

“I am fully confident that the state of New Mexico will play Division I soccer in 2019 and beyond,” Representative Antonio “Moe” Maestas, said, “because as New Mexicans, we are committed to solving problems. We have to shed this psychology that we can’t do these things.”

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