ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The future of Lobo football has some people talking after a record low attendance at Saturday’s game.
A total of 12,617 fans watched the Lobos 45 to 31 loss to Hawaii at DreamStyle Stadium. Saturday’s announced attendance represents the lowest attended home Lobo football game in 17 seasons, dating back to 2003.
Head coach Bob Davie blamed himself for the team’s performance against Hawaii at the conclusion of Saturday’s game.
“I take full 100% responsibility for that, don’t… don’t in any way blame these players,” Davie said in a post-game press conference.
It’s unclear what’s in store for Lobo football’s future and if there will be a buyout of Davie’s contract, which has two years remaining. Davie is in his eighth year with the team. His contract expires in late 2021.
So far, UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez and UNM President Garnett Stokes haven’t touched the “buyout” question. In a news conference in mid-October, Davie acknowledged he was likely in “the hot seat.”
“I guess that’s what that term would be… that really doesn’t bother me a whole lot, you know, I feel more concerned about the staff, quite honestly, than I would myself,” Davie said.
On the flip side, some state lawmakers are saying the state should consider spending more money around Lobo football for the program to succeed.
“I think the school and the University and the community really needs to support this team to get this thing turned around,” said Senator Mark Moores, a Republican representing Albuquerque in the state legislature.
Senator Moores and Democrat House Representative Moe Maestas both think football needs help.
“The football programs have to sustain the rest of the programs, I think that was part of the calculus in cutting the men’s soccer is that,” said Rep. Maestas.
However, neither lawmaker is talking about the state paying for Davie’s potential buyout. A buyout of Davie’s contract this year could cost UNM roughly $900,000.
“It’s wasted money if we’re not going to change how we behave as a state and a university,” said Moores, in response to the idea of a buyout.
Moores, who is a UNM football alum, believes football needs more financial investment around the program as a whole.
“Other states, other schools are building new facilities, spending the money to be successful, and if New Mexico doesn’t do that, we will continue to flounder,” said Moores.
“Where we can help the university is with capital,” said Maestas.
Maestas too thinks cash would be better spent on football program upgrades. However, he thinks it will likely take more fans to buy-in and support the program first before the New Mexico Legislature is likely to act.
“If we were to have 35,000 people a game for a couple of consecutive years, I guarantee the legislature would be more than willing to round off the other side of the stadium or add seats as opposed to benches, or things of that nature,” said Maestas.
KRQE News 13 asked UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez for an interview about Lobo football’s future, however, Nuñez said talking about the subject right now “isn’t ideal.”
Following their loss to Hawaii, the Lobos now have six losses and two wins in the 2019 season. The team has four games remaining.