The University of New Mexico is dropping men's soccer, one of the nation's top programs on the field and at the gate in the last two decades, after the 2018 season.
UNM's Board of Regents
unanimously approved on Thursday the recommendation to drop men's soccer as well as men's and women's skiing and beach volleyball, leaving the school with 18 athletic programs. Legal challenges?
The decision has been taken very hard because student-athletes affected were not advised of the final decision until Wednesday
afternoon, less than a day before Board of Regents was to meet. There were legal opinions being formulated about whether the meeting violated New Mexico's Open Meetings Act. Two-pronged move.
The move will save the athletic department an estimated $1.148 million annually. It's facing a deficit of $4.7 million in the next
fiscal year. It is also dealing with Title IX issues. (More than 60 percent of money for athlete scholarships goes to male athletes.)
“The university is faced with very difficult
decisions and tough choices, but we must act now to ensure the long-term stability of Lobo athletics,” New Mexico president Garnett Stokes said
in a statement to the Associated Press. “Regrettably, the recommendations
do include a reduction in sports, the least desirable measure but one that will help alleviate our financial concerns and work towards putting us in compliance with federal law.”
The Lobos have made the NCAA Tournament in 11 of 16 years under Jeremy Fishbein
and reached the Men's College
Cup in 2005 and 2013. In 2005, New Mexico, runner-up to Maryland at the College Cup, led the nation in attendance with an average of 3,269 fans a game.
New Mexico launched men's soccer in
1983, making it one of the first major schools to adopt men's soccer in the Southwest. The decision to drop soccer will leave the state of New Mexico with only one NCAA men's soccer program, Division
II Eastern New Mexico. Discontinued NCAA D1 Men's Programs: SCHOOL (LAST YEAR)
(1) Houston Baptist (1990)
(2) Brooklyn (1992)
North Texas (1993)
Illinois State (1994)
Central Michigan (1994)
Arkansas-Little Rock (1995)
Maryland-Eastern Shore (1996)
Northeastern Illinois (1997)
South Alabama (1998)
Eastern Michigan (1998)
Charleston Southern (2002)
Fresno State (2002)
The Citadel (2002)
East Carolina (2005)
Western Kentucky (2008)
Alabama A&M (2010)
(4) Mount St. Mary's (2012)
New Mexico (2018)
(1) Reinstated program in 2006.
(2) Reinstated as a Division III program in 1995.
program as Texas-Rio Grande Valley in 2015.
(4) Reinstated program in 2018.