University of New Mexico chops national powerhouse men's program

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.”

Tournament regulars. 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:
(1) Houston Baptist (1990)
(2) Brooklyn (1992)
North Texas (1993)
Illinois State (1994)
Central Michigan (1994)
Arkansas-Little Rock (1995)
Maryland-Eastern Shore (1996)
(3) Texas-Pan American (1997)
Northeastern Illinois (1997)
South Alabama (1998)
Miami-Ohio (1998)
Eastern Michigan (1998)
Charleston Southern (2002)
Fresno State (2002)
TCU (2002)
The Citadel (2002)
East Carolina (2005)
Vanderbilt (2005)
Western Kentucky (2008)
Maine (2009)
Alabama A&M (2010)
(4) Mount St. Mary's (2012)
Towson (2012)
Richmond (2012)
Buffalo (2016)
New Mexico (2018)
(1) Reinstated program in 2006.
(2) Reinstated as a Division III program in 1995.
(3) Reinstated program as Texas-Rio Grande Valley in 2015.
(4) Reinstated program in 2018.
10 comments about "University of New Mexico chops national powerhouse men's program".
  1. Wallace Wade, July 20, 2018 at 9:33 a.m.

    Title IX killed men’s college soccer many decades ago

  2. Sharon Anderon, July 20, 2018 at 10:45 a.m.

    Or more positively, College athletics cannot support ALL athletic programs while balancing equal scholarship access and availability of sports programs to both female and male athletes. Title IX was and remains a mechanism to balance that availability and access. 
    If I had a daughter who chose a sport, I would hope she would have options to pursue her skills.

    When I attended college in the ‘70’s, those options weren’t available.  

  3. Brent Boone replied, July 20, 2018 at 12:27 p.m.

    Yeah, but Title IX needs to be looked at again, it is having an adverse affect on mens sports!!  Let's take men's football out of the equation (since it does pay the bills for most Olympic sports in college, both mens' and women's), and then equal scholarships for men and women would work.  The large number of scholarships that football takes on, kills other male sports; but both mens and womens sports in college need American football.  We could also say that if there are 16 mens sports,  there should be 16 womens sports and stop worrying about the number of scholarships. At the end of the day I've had multiple women say to me, "Does it have to be equal, to be fair."  Is it fair that womens soccer gets more scholarships than mens soccer, or is it fair the womens lacrosse gets more scholarships than mens lacrosse.  Same sports, they shouldn't be treated differently.  An atheltic department should have the same number of sports for both men and women, and then the same number of scholarships in sports where they have a mens and womens team.  In the end it will come back to football and the number of scholarships, sorry there is no womens football to equalize scholarships, much like there is no mens field hockey that can compare to womens field hockey.  The same number of sports for both men and women is the most fair way to approach.

  4. Kent James replied, July 21, 2018 at 11:12 a.m.

    The problem is men's football. DI has 85 scholarships (for a sport on which there are 11 on the field). Most football programs lose money (though I think it can be argued that they increase general alumni attachment/donations to the school, so it's tricky). They should limit the number of scholarships available for any team to 2x the number of players on the field (or even 3x!).

  5. R2 Dad, July 20, 2018 at 11:42 a.m.

    No problem, I'm sure Jeremy Fishbein will be snapped up by some professional soccer team soon. He must be a fountain of knowledge regarding youth development! /S

  6. Wallace Wade, July 20, 2018 at 1:24 p.m.

    Clearly in regards to this men’s program, Title IX killed them. You have to feel bad for this was a successful program with good attendance. As long as this continues in this country, men’s college soccer will remain a punchline. 

  7. James Madison, July 20, 2018 at 5:10 p.m.

    Many colleges do fine without American football.  There are other ways to cover the costs of athletic programs.  

  8. Giorgio Cabanas, July 20, 2018 at 10:04 p.m.

    Chops? Who uses that word in this context any more? I had to read it three time to understand it. C’mon, Paul!

  9. Bob Ashpole, July 21, 2018 at 5:15 p.m.

    Title IX is not killing college sports. How the schools manage their programs is solely responsible for the success or failure of the programs. It is not NCAA rules on recruiting and scholarships either. NCAA sets upper limits on scholarships. Schools decide how many to actually award.

  10. Wallace Wade, July 23, 2018 at 10:48 a.m.

    Your right. It isn’t killing college sports. It’s killing men’s college soccer. 

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