New Mexico football coach Bob Davie says he will appeal a 30-day suspension handed down by the university following an investigation into alleged misconduct within the program.
Davie said Friday that none of the three investigations conducted over a nine-month period found he violated any school policy.
“I fully cooperated in every respect and met multiple times with the investigators, but was never asked to meet with or provide information”‘ to a Chicago-based law firm conducting one of the probes, Davie said in a statement provided by the school.
The Chicago-based law firm, Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose, which did not interview Davie, said in its report that it could not conclude that Davie or the other New Mexico coaches and staff members obstructed criminal or university investigations into alleged wrongdoing or attempted retaliation.
But the firm said in a report filed last month that senior university officials “should provide greater leadership and set a stronger tone of commitment to compliance with Title IX and with its own standards of conduct for all students or by its students.”
Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose examined how football staff members responded to police or university investigations into three incidents of alleged sexual and physical assault by players, as well as allegations of whether coaches pressured injured players to play before they had been cleared by the medical staff. The firm found “no evidence” to substantiate those allegations.
The Hogan Maren Babbo & Rose probe came after a university-commissioned investigation last fall by retired federal judge Bruce Black, who recommended additional review.
Among the incidents the law firm investigated was an alleged sexual assault of a New Mexico student by a Lobos football player. Witnesses had told Bruce Black during his investigation that Davie had instructed players during a team meeting to “get some dirt on this whore.”
That allegedly prompted some players and their girlfriends to harass the student until she left the university and the state, which led to the district attorney dropping charges against the player.
Hogan Maren Babbo & Rose said in its report that it could not verify that Davie used that language, only that the meeting was held and that players were told “they needed to protect their teammate and to provide information about the incident to coach Davie.”
Along with Davie’s suspension, Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose recommended that New Mexico conduct mandatory in-person Title IX training and cultural sensitivity training for the entire athletic department, as well as individual training for staff and student-athletes about proper reporting procedures for allegations.
The firm also recommended that New Mexico conduct a review of its policies around student-athlete injuries as well as annual reviews of how the school handles student-athlete misconduct.
“Both [investigations] identified blind-spots as well as instances where UNM policies have been violated and outdated practices persist regarding University reporting processes,” interim university president Chaouki Abdallah said in a prepared statement Thursday. “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.”
Davie has coached New Mexico for the past six seasons and has a record of 30-45.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Thursday that he’s expanding a separate investigation into the university’s athletic department.
“We will never tolerate a university culture that denies students their basic rights through illegal discrimination or retaliation against those who report sexual misconduct,” Balderas said in a prepared statement.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.