ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Pit was supposed to be packed last Saturday for the big rivalry basketball game between the Lobos and Aggies. But that almost sold-out game is now canceled after a shooting on campus involving at least three UNM students and an NMSU Men’s Basketball player. It left one dead and another injured.
“We felt, at this time, there needed to be a pause. This event just recently occurred. There’s still a lot of anxiety and concerns in the community,” UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez said.
He says the shooting wasn’t the only reason for canceling. Nuñez cited past problems when playing in Las Cruces back in October during the rivalry football game. “There were incidents that had occurred in the stands, that were affecting our players. We had things thrown at our players, we had stuff stolen from our benches.” That’s the same game where a fight broke out. Police say the shooting in Albuquerque this weekend was an attempt at payback for that fight.
Before the deadly shooting, Nuñez says they were already looking into extra safety measures like adding metal detectors. He says to expect them in the future. “Yes, it might add a little bit, a second or two to getting into the event but it’s the right thing to do right now.”
Nuñez also answered questions surrounding Women’s Basketball player Brooke Berry. She posted to social media Tuesday that she is leaving the team due to concerns over gun violence. “I want to wish Brooke the best opportunity, where ever she decides to go. I would have loved to see her continue her education and her opportunity because I think she’s a special athlete but I understand and I respect her decision,” Nuñez said.
The decision to cancel the game is a costly decision. Nuñez says it’s about a half-million-dollar loss. This will not impact the Women’s Basketball schedule. They’re still set to play NMSU at the Pit on December 11.