Forced to hold a second meeting on sports cuts, UNM’s Board of Regents still voted to cut men’s soccer, the ski team and beach volleyball. However, the regents voted to save women’s diving.
Diving was reinstated, but the regents still voted to cut the other sports after a four-hour public meeting.
While there was some relief, many hoped the regents would hold off on the other cuts.
“You cannot vote for this based on the information you have, thank you,” Albuquerque attorney Greg Williams said at the meeting.
While it was a smaller crowd, they were no less impassioned in trying to keep UNM’s Board of Regents from cutting sports in their second meeting on the proposal.
“This decision will not only be heartbreaking to your student athletes and to your community, but will serve little purpose in meeting our as a university,” UNM beach volleyball player Kayla Long said.
Friday’s four and a half-hour “do-over” meeting came after the New Mexico Attorney General found UNM’s vote last month a violation of the Open Meetings Act due to a lack of detail about what would be cut.
That plan was to save $1 million by cutting men’s soccer, beach volleyball and the ski team, and eventually phase out women’s diving.
“We also know that doing this takes away opportunities for those students in the affected sports,” UNM President Garnett Stokes said.
After around three hours of public comment, the regents voted to save the women’s dive team.
“I burst into tears the minute I heard we were being saved,” student diver Natasha Dark said.
While one sport was saved, regents say they’ll stay the course with eliminating soccer, skiing and beach volleyball.
“I think we’re committed that they have a balanced budget,” Regent Marron Lee said.
Athletic Director Eddie Nunez says the cuts get athletics closer to that goal.
“We have to move forward as a department, we have to move forward as a community. It’s not an easy day, it’s not a good day,” Nunez said.
KRQE News 13 spoke to one of the most outspoken opponents of these cuts Friday night, UNM’s men soccer coach Jeremy Fishbein. He said the team is taking the decision hard, but they’re focused on preparing for their next game, Saturday in Colorado.
With UNM’s current plan the cuts go into effect after each team plays their next season.