LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Fans are wondering about the fate of New Mexico State’s basketball Coach Greg Heiar after hazing allegations forced the university to cancel the remainder of the basketball season. “It’s something that just shouldn’t happen, especially on a team,” said a fan named Jhovanni. “It’s crazy. It shouldn’t have happened. It’s wild it happened at the university I go to,” another fan said.
According to an NMSU Police report released Sunday, a freshman player told investigators he had been the victim of hazing since July, including an incident on February 6 when three teammates allegedly held him down, slapped him on the buttocks, and touched his genitals. The player told police the assaults happened in front of the whole team but no one intervened. The report suggests a second freshman player may have also been subject to hazing.
News 13 looked at Coach Heiar’s contract with NMSU. It says the school can fire him for cause without a buyout for a “serious or intentional” violation of any law, rule, or regulation of the university by the coach or anyone under his supervision.
Heiar could also be terminated for failing to promptly report violations to the administration. “If NMSU was trying to recruit me, and I heard about that – a player getting harassed – I probably wouldn’t go to NMSU. Why would I want to go to a school where I would get hazed and maybe harassed? For them to decide, ‘I’m going to go to New Mexico State because I like the program, and for this to happen to them, I would leave,'” another fan said.
The hazing allegations come in the wake of a deadly shooting at UNM involving Aggie player Mike Peake. The NMSU coaching staff took possession of Peake’s gun before turning it over to the police.
As part of that investigation, state police served search warrants at the Aggie’s basketball facility in November. They asked Coach Heiar how to get ahold of three players who picked up Peake after the shooting, but Heiar said he didn’t have a way to reach them.
At last check, Heiar and the coaching staff are still employed but remain on paid leave. If Haier is fired without cause, New Mexico State would owe him a buyout of more than $1.2 million.