Update, University of New Mexico

It’s a far less interesting place without the legendary Schmidly/Locksley partnership (read these posts if you haven’t just eaten); but, you know…

The shadow of your smile
When you are gone
Will color all my dreams…

The Locksley buyout and various Schmidly initiatives are gifts that keep giving… And of course when it comes to athletics in particular UNM continues really, really sordid, and things get worse and worse. Let’s quote a bit from a recent article:

In one of the poorest states in the nation, can UNM, which has only one of its 21 intercollegiate sports teams (men’s basketball) turning a profit each fiscal year, justify receiving well more than $2 million per year in state subsidies for athletics? Can it justify student fees totaling $4 million, a figure that has more than doubled in the past two years despite the objections of student representatives on campus?

The new Schmidly says uh I dunno… bad situation I guess but can’t do nuthin…

“The debt service continues to be a challenge for us,” [the athletic director] said, referring to paying down the $60 million renovation of the Pit four years ago. “The financial model was predicated on a naming gift…”

The perfectly named Pit is the basketball stadium. The morons who run UNM promised up and down they’d get some bank or pizza parlor to buy naming rights, only it didn’t happen…

I mean, the financial model?? What a great way to put it. This might be more accurate: I and the idiots with whom I play golf figured we might get the funding if we told everyone

UNM students paid $1.9 million in fees for athletics in 2011-12, with a majority earmarked at covering the costs of student admission to sporting events.

Then, despite the objections of undergraduate and graduate student representatives, came significant increases in those fees. In 2012-13 the students paid $3.2 million and that figure was right at $4 million this past year (2013-14).

“Student fees have been a godsend for us the last couple years. But we, historically, have been on the real low end, and now we’re probably right in the middle,” Krebs said. “But I think there’s a limit to what you can put on the backs of the students.”

In 2012-13, six of the 10 other schools in the Mountain West Conference received more money from student fees than did UNM, as did nearby regional schools New Mexico State University and UTEP.

“I don’t see a huge increase in the student participation around fees, but I do think some nominal increases are probably in their future,” Frank said. “How fast and how much is something we’ll talk to the students about.”

The last fees went up without any talking to anyone. Students objected to them and the school said fuck you. Clearly student fees in years to come will be predicated on the same financial model.

“There is no other component of the university that has the capability to receive the amount of media coverage enjoyed by the men’s and women’s sports that make up our athletic department.”

In a rousing letter to the editor of the local newspaper (“If we aspire to be known as one of America’s great universities, we are going to need to act like we are one of those universities today! That is what is called vision! When we believe in our vision; when we support our faculty; when we support our staff; when we support our administration; when we support our coaches and athletic director; and yes, when we support our board of regents; success will be ours! It takes courage to stand tall in the face of criticism. It takes heart to support our student-athletes who are giving it their all, each time that enter a competition. It takes special people to take NMSU to a new place, and I believe we are in a place in our history, with people of passion, who can help us get there!”) the chair of perennial loser New Mexico State University’s board of trustees reminds his indifferent, pissed off community (i.e., no one goes to the football games, and everyone’s pissed that people like this trustee are bleeding them financially in order to subsidize an athletic program about which no one cares) about our old friend, Athletics as the Front Porch of the University. Nothing else has the capacity to receive the amount of media coverage athletics does! If you understood anything about marketing brands, you’d know that!

Chairman Mike overlooks – fails to mention? – what all anti-intellectuals who somehow end up running American universities overlook. See, branding goes both ways. All that attention sports gives you goes both ways. Don’t get it yet? Let me make it as simple as possible for you. When you’re like New Mexico State, and your sports program is profoundly, repeatedly, embarrassing, the embarrassment always goes way-national. Ask Keith Olbermann, who’s gotten incredible mileage out of NMSU’s pathetic attempts to get anyone – anyone – to sit through one of its games. Ask the ESPN anchors who covered a recent NMSU basketball game where the team and a group of fans responded to having lost (NMSU almost always loses) by rioting.

Ask anyone who has followed NMSU’s efforts to hire an offensive line coach (UD‘s not sure what this position’s salary is, but let’s guess around $200,000. In 2013, NMSU’s head football coach made $363,000.):

[Chris] Symington replaced Steve Marshall, and was the third offensive line coach over the past year for the Aggies. Symington departs as the second offensive line coach over the past year to never coach a game with the program.

Marshall, who replaced Bart Miller in January, departed the program for an assistant offensive line coaching position with the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.

The Aggies have had a revolving door at the offensive line post for a number of years. Prior to Marshall, there was Jason Lenzmeier (who was hired by the University of New Mexico following the 2011 season), Brad Bedell (hired by Arkansas State following the 2012 campaign) and Miller (hired by Florida Atlantic following this past season).

Considering Marshall’s sudden departure — he arrived in January, coached spring football with the program and then left — Symington’s hire appeared to be a good one.

Imagine all the money and administrative time that’s been taken up at NMSU with the saga of the vanishing coaches. I wonder why they all keep vanishing? And now everyone’s talking about the latest one, Symington, who looked so good…

Las Cruces police cited Chris Symington twice in a four-day span for huffing compressed air, the second incident unfolding Tuesday morning inside the bathroom of a Las Cruces drug store… Sunday night, Symington received his first criminal citation after a different LCPD officer found him “slumped over sitting in his vehicle and apparently having seizures,” a police report states.

That officer reported he saw Symington inhale compressed air from a canister.

Yes, when your university is so desperate to find yet another coach that you’re willing to scrape the bottom of the canister, nothing else going on at your university will receive the amount of media coverage the fall-out will.

Keep it up, NMSU! Go Aggies!

You knew this was coming.

The athletic director draws inspiration from the fact that his team played so well after having been arrested.

Half the Eastern New Mexico State University baseball team was arrested (fight, campus parking lot) and then, having been bonded out of jail, they played a winning game that same day.

“A lot of teams in that situation where they saw several of their players get arrested two hours previously could have folded right there at that point,” said [Jeff] Geiser.

How many teams can come back right away from mass arrest to play a winning game? Not many, baby. But our guys were totally not fazed.

“… New Mexico State … dons the futility crown in college football, its last bowl appearance [having been] in 1960.”

Or, as a commenter on an article about New Mexico State University’s football team puts it, “I will never understand fans from these terrible academic/athletic schools that need to have their teams competing on the highest level just to have their brains beat in.”

Let NMSU stand for dozens of American universities allowing themselves to bleed out as institutions for the sake of big-time football.

Let us once more, on this blog, attempt to understand the masochism that insists – against the simple sanity of one’s own university president, and a state senator – that hurling your expensive team against opponents who will always beat you by ten, twenty, thirty, forty points is a good thing.

I don’t want you to think that anyone from NMSU actually goes to these games. I mean, a few people do, but for most in the NMSU community, group psychosis apparently has its limits. Most people there prefer not to purchase pricey tickets in order to watch the players for their school get their brains bashed in.

At the same time, though, enough NMSU people want to get seasonally excited about new coaches and paradigms and shit that they refuse to let the president and the state senator divert football money toward, uh, education. An anti-intellectual school in an anti-intellectual state, NMSU’s thing is to sit on its ass being stupid while its team gets brained. Our purpose is to figure out why this is.

It’s not the spectacle of the brain bashing itself, since few attend the games. If attendance were good, our problem would be solved: We love gore, and the NMSU football team guarantees it. But people avert their eyes.

Since total massive loss is equally guaranteed, could a campy delectation of failure itself have set in? Are the denizens of NMSU Wildean rascals…?

No. They are sincere, ever-hopeful, dog-like fans.

Here’s the best I can do. The Buddha speaks always of compassion, and what’s going on at NMSU is a communal exemplification of this primary virtue. The hopelessly broken – ever freshly broken – body of this football team exteriorizes for an entire community the first noble truth of human suffering. The team is a precious sacrificial vessel through which, ritualistically, NMSU attains not intellectual but spiritual enlightenment.

Sometimes a university becomes so sordid…

… life on campus becomes so degrading, that students take desperate measures. UD vividly remembers the American University students who, stuck with a president whose corruption had become a national disgrace, simply drove all day up and down AU’s main drag, honking their horns and calling out to people on the sidewalk to help them get rid of the pest. They emblazoned their cars with signs like PRESIDENT LADNER: WE’LL HELP YOU MOVE.

All of Washington laughed; the tactic worked. Ladner resigned.

Jake Mayfield’s similarly desperate online petition (I just signed it; if this blog’s long chronicle of the mind-wastage of big-time university sports has meant anything to you, you should consider signing it too) is unlikely to work. New Mexico State University (background here) is much too far gone for anyone to make much of a difference. Unlike AU, located in an intellectually ambitious state (well, district), NMSU is located in what UD calls one of our Right-Not-To-Think states. Imagine trying to explain – let alone get support for – an academic university in Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico. Not gonna happen.

Still, there’s nobility in what Mayfield (a recent NMSU grad) is doing; it’s an important gesture, and one worth supporting.

The curse of living in one of America’s Right-Not-To-Think States…

… like New Mexico, is that you’ve got to read shit like this.

Most people just lie there and read it and try not to feel so defiled by its stupid lies that they want to jump off a cliff (there are amazing cliffs in New Mexico). Others can’t help taking the words in and responding to them, as these two New Mexico State University students did.

Although their effort to introduce reason, decency and (you gotta be kidding) intellect to the state – and, more specifically, to the chair of the NMSU board of regents – is the very definition of noble futility, along the lines of, say, the Warsaw Uprising, they are to be admired for the effort. Attention, as they say, must be paid.

[The chair’s letter] is a strangely defensive account of the glories of our sports program and why it deserves the funding it currently receives, including a controversial $4.1 million annual transfer out of the academic fund.

The Cheney letter may have largely been prompted by the “firestorm” created when then-presidential candidate Garrey Carruthers stated that dropping football to a lower division or even eliminating it entirely were options on the table.

Carruthers nearly immediately retracted that statement, but Cheney seems to still feel the need to rally against the critics. “Like it or not,” the chairman of the board tells us, “we must live in the reality that is collegiate sports today.” We have to keep doing what we’re doing, because everyone else is doing it. We have to pay our football coach more than the entire philosophy department combined, because that’s just the reality of the market…

… [It is impossible to] justify the robbing of academic funds to cover the athletic program’s debts at a time when professorships are being reduced and money for research and public service continues to decrease. The Aggie-pride factor doesn’t take away from the fact that many student-athletes leave NMSU with a subpar education and a host of physical and financial problems. Wins don’t justify the overblown importance of big-time sports on college campuses. Instead of blindly going along with the “reality that is collegiate sports today” — the reality of the NCAA’s perverted money-making machine, of rape cover-ups, of steroid abuse — why don’t we put our foot down, be different, recognize that they’re just games and act accordingly? Why not do groundbreaking work to redefine the role of collegiate athletics rather than just trying to keep up with the big schools?

Bravo. You lose.

The Surreal World of the University of New Mexico

With a 3-13 record, the UNM baseball team plays in an “empty” stadium.

Monday the UNM Board of Regents approved the use of a $2 million Severance Tax Bond, which was allocated by the 2010 Legislature for a new baseball complex.

“It’s not money that could be used somewhere else on campus,” Krebs said. “If we didn’t use it specifically for this project it would revert … to the state.”

And while the state is in need of more money, the athletic department says this is money well spent.

An impoverished university, its academics gutted, builds a new baseball stadium for a team without spectators.

For sheer tenacious takedown of a university…

… no one else comes close to the University of New Mexico.

Its president is a nepotistic nullity.

Its football coach likes to lose games and beat up people.

Everyone’s tried to get rid of the president every which way, but the governor and legislature can’t get enough of the guy.

UNM will also keep the coach on, rumor has it, because “UNM’s Board of Regents, the state of New Mexico and the athletic department’s private fundraising Lobo Club is unwilling to provide the $1.46 million to buy Locksley out of a contract that runs through 2014.”

They’re already paying through the teeth on contract buyouts for three other coaches.


This year’s average attendance will likely be the lowest since 1992. The school’s ticket revenue projection is down over a million dollars over the last two years yet it will cost the University about $1.4 million to buyout the remainder of his contract.

All UD can say is Choose your state well. You’re free, in the United States, to move unaccosted from state to state, putting down roots, attending school, and working, where you prefer. Occasionally, you’re trapped; I understand that. But in most cases you do not have to go to a public university in Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, or Hawaii — all states where there is simply no good option if you’re serious, or even semi-serious, about an education.

Don’t wait for UNM to change. Go away.

“President Schmidly, I gratefully accept this award, but I decided to make a symbolic statement by asking you to hold my plaque until you leave administrative work, and return to your role as a highly accomplished teacher of biology,” he said. “Then I’ll accept the plaque in gratitude, if you want to give it to me.”

This was the acceptance speech that this year’s winner of the University of New Mexico teaching award gave yesterday.

Non-acceptance speech, I guess. Must have been pretty embarrassing for the president, Dave Schmidly, to present the award, and then sit down and hear what the recipient had to say about him.

President Schmidly presented the “Presidential Teaching Fellow” award to Dr. Howard Waitzkin, a distinguished professor in family and community medicine, sociology, and internal medicine at UNM. Upon accepting the award, Waitzkin unexpectedly gave a speech about the UNM administration’s poor performance supporting faculty and students.

“The values that most of us on the faculty and most of the student body think need to be preserved are those that focus on the advancement of education and the advancement of knowledge,” he said. “The priorities here have been on buildings, athletics and other areas that are not core to the University’s mission.”

… In his speech, Waitzkin talked about the resignation of Faculty President Doug Fields on Monday due to the unwillingness of administration to listen to faculty’s ideas on governance and budget planning. He also cited the faculty’s no-confidence vote in President David Schmidly last spring.

“Because of the deterioration of UNM’s educational mission, last year the faculty gave President Schmidly a strong vote of no confidence,” Waitzkin said. “Rather than resigning, the president has continued much of the same practices, which have provoked several scandals and reduced morale for many faculty members and students.”

Waitzkin cited financial changes, cutbacks in key programs and utter lack of support for faculty as the reasons why he decided to speak out at the awards ceremony. He said lack of support for teachers from the administration has led many faculty to teach in a “sad, alienated way,” and others to leave the University…

Tenure is controversial, and I guess it should be. But you have to admit that this is a story not only about courage, but about tenure.


And — Schmidly? He’s going the way of Ceausescu. It’s going to become increasingly difficult for him to be seen in public.

UD has wondered for awhile why it’s taking so long for mass murder to play its part in American fraternity hazing.

Guns of course are ubiquitous at frats, but they’re an adjunct to the frat’s extensive drug dealing operation (see pages and pages of guns and frats here), or they’re AK-47s that the lads like to photograph themselves holding, or they’re be-well-son-and-take-care-of-yourself goodbye gifts from Maw and Paw as the little guy heads off to school. And of course they’re notoriously handy when suicide is in the air. All routine American gun use.

Real powpowpow, however, has been thin on the ground. Stuff that draws pledge-blood has been… anemic.

Yes, this Oklahoma State guy (an inter-fraternity council secretary)

used a loaded gun to scare two new fraternity recruits. The victims say (Owen) Hossack pointed the gun at their heads and asked if they would take a bullet for their brothers. Then, police say, he fired the gun …

But I mean big deal nobody got hurt and loyalty is an important value…


See, if you ask UD the omnipresence of guns, alcohol, drugs, teenagers, secret guys-only events, and loyalty tests should mean that America’s budding Stephen Paddocks begin routinely manifesting themselves at our fraternities. By national standards, shooting a gun at two guys’ heads but not killing them is, uh, kid stuff.

On the other hand, there’s evidence that things are escalating to the serious mass shootings UD keeps expecting. New Mexico State University (feast your eyes) is exactly the sort of walking abortion of a school you’d expect to be a first-adopter here, and sure enough they did manage to draw blood at a recent hazing event.

Dozens of students, including Jonathan Sillas, attended the Kappa Sigma fraternity’s initiation event.

As Sillas was leaving, another student, Miguel Altamirano, pulled him to the side and told him to turn around, according to a criminal complaint.

Altamirano pulled out a .40 caliber handgun, held the firearm against Sillas’ leg and pulled the trigger, the complaint states. The bullet went through Sillas’ leg.

Gun-friendly states always use the passive voice. The bullet went through. The shooter did not put the bullet in Sillas’s leg; the bullet decided to go through Sillas’s leg. And note the other thing going on at hazing events: Sadistic tyranny. Pulled him to the side and told him to turn around. Right out of The Story of O. Frat hazing (and sorority hazing) reeks, my dears, of S&M.

Duh. We all know that. It’s about torturing people pathetic enough to be willing to be tortured in order to join your club.

I mean, datz why I keep wondering why no mass killing at Sigma Alpha Epsilon yet! You know they’ve got guns galore, but no one’s gonna confiscate them because that would initiate a massacre of free Americans by the federal government. Little by little, a pledge shooting here and a pledge shooting there, we’re inching toward mass murder at an American university fraternity. Just be patient.

‘Oregon devised a solution to slow its exodus: fast food. If the Ducks score 40 points, those who stay for the whole time earn a free “Jumbo Jack” hamburger from Jack in the Box.’

Students don’t go to football games; or they go and then leave after twenty minutes. Some universities burger and booze students to make them stay put; New Mexico State University pays them.

… ESPN host Keith Olbermann lambasted NMSU President Carruthers as the worst person in the sports world.

“In NCAA college football you can pay the coaches, you can pay the ADs, you can pay the announcers, yet you can’t pay the players, but now you can pay the fans too!” an outraged Olbermann told his ESPN audience. “New Mexico State University’s Garrey ‘We-will-bribe-you-to-sit-through-this-garbage’ Carruthers. Today’s worst person in the sports world.”

What glorious things our universities have turned into.

It sounds like something they’d rig up at Gitmo…

… but it’s just the latest effort on the part of New Mexico State University to get someone to sit through one of their football games.

[U]niversity President Garrey Carruthers and others have raised money to counter the often dismal student attendance at Aggies (0-4) games.

Among the prizes are $2,000, $250 and a VIP parking pass.

The winner of the $2,000 will be selected from all main campus NMSU students who are taking at least one credit at the school. If the student is there during the fourth quarter, he or she will collect the reward. If not, the prize money will be saved for the next game.

The Aggies have lost 15 straight games and have been beaten by a combined 201-62 this season.

Can you collect if you’re just, like, there? Do you have to be conscious?

‘Prior to his election as president, Carruthers openly questioned whether NMSU should drop to Football Championship Subdivision status or even consider dropping football. He’s since reconsidered. “One of the pleasant things about being president is that I have a board of regents to turn to for guidance,” Carruthers said with a chuckle. “One of the first suggestions the regents gave me was, ‘Don’t talk about anything but (Football Bowl Subdivision) for our football program.’ I got the message.”’

The degradation of being president of hopeless-loser New Mexico State University.

The chair of an academic institution’s board of trustees speaks to us!

Hail, Chairman Cheney!

Our football team has not achieved the success we would have liked to have seen over the years, but we have had pockets of success that inspire. How about our three Aggie players drafted into the NFL for three consecutive years! For those who watched, NMSU beat Minnesota two years ago — there was a state of elation that had people talking the whole season. Who can deny that a win against our major rivals — UTEP or UNM — creates electricity and enthusiasm for a unified Aggie Nation! My challenge to all of us is to get behind and support our teams that represent us with such pride. Anyone can criticize. It takes fortitude to be a supporter on our way to achieving the success we desire.

I am proud of New Mexico State University. If we aspire to be known as one of America’s great universities, we are going to need to act like we are one of those universities today! That is what is called vision! When we believe in our vision; when we support our faculty; when we support our staff; when we support our administration; when we support our coaches and athletic director; and yes, when we support our board of regents; success will be ours! It takes courage to stand tall in the face of criticism. It takes heart to support our student-athletes who are giving it their all, each time that enter a competition. It takes special people to take NMSU to a new place, and I believe we are in a place in our history, with people of passion, who can help us get there!

Stand tall! Anyone can criticize!!

In anticipation of a sold-out debate at NYU…

… this Tuesday – topic: BAN COLLEGE FOOTBALL – Buzz Bissinger, arguing in favor, begins to make his case. He mentions all the obvious stuff everyone mentions, and drops in a few current yummy examples. Like:

New Mexico State University’s athletic department needed a 70% subsidy in 2009-2010, largely because Aggie football hasn’t gotten to a bowl game in 51 years. Outside of Las Cruces, where New Mexico State is located, how many people even know that the school has a football program? None, except maybe for some savvy contestants on “Jeopardy.” What purpose does it serve on a university campus? None.

All true: It serves no purpose. Yet the question to ask about New Mexico State and other bad schools with expensive football teams is: What purpose does anything serve on that university campus? Wouldn’t eliminating football do away with the only game, as it were, in town? If you banned football, and Auburn and Clemson couldn’t play it anymore, what would be left? People forget that the very scandals schools like these generate are part of their lore, part of the excitement of being a student there. It’s hard to imagine anyone applying to a football school that’s become a shell of its former self. Banning football would ultimately mean closing down dozens of American universities.

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