ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After the Mountain West announced Monday it’s postponing fall sports, it left the University of New Mexico wondering what’s next for the football team and how they can recover from this financially.
Both Head Coach Danny Gonzales and Athletic Director Eddie Nunez admit this is going to really hurt the program because football is one of the athletic department’s biggest moneymaker. However, Coach Gonzales says he has faith.
“Are we going to have financial struggles? We are. We will find a way through it. We will figure it out, and when we come out on the other side, everybody in this community will be happy that we did,” he said.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, the Mountain West Conference announced this upcoming football season would be postponed indefinitely. The decision came after the conference board of directors say they wanted to prioritize the physical and mental health of their student-athletes.
UNM’s athletic budget ranges from $32 million to $34 million each year. They were already bracing for a big hit after the NCAA lost millions after the cancellation of March Madness because of the pandemic. That money is divvied out to the schools.
They also lost out on revenue from big events like state basketball and the PBR, which were also canceled because of the pandemic. Luckily, Nunez says the department has been making budget cuts and adjustments even before the start of the pandemic.
“We wouldn’t be doing justice to our department if we just should look this is what it’s going to be, this is what we’re moving forward with. We have to be understanding that this is going to change. It might get better, but at this point, we understand there are going to be some hurdles,” Nunez said.
There is a possibility the football season will take place in the spring but it’s unclear if that will happen. Coach Gonzales, who was already getting ready for his debut season at the helm of the Lobos, says he believes the football program will recover in the next three years and hopes fans will show up to support.
Following the postponement, Nunez says the department is modifying its budget. The status of winter sports, like basketball, is still up in the air.