Legislative pressure mounts on New Mexico to reinstate varsity men's soccer

It is rare for a state legislature to get involved in soccer matters, but the New Mexico House of Representatives wants the University of New Mexico to reinstate men's soccer and three other sports slated to be dropped at end of the school year.

The New Mexico House of Representatives is so serious that the amount in the state budget to appropriate to the UNM athletic department has been increased to $4.6 million with the proviso that the funding is contingent on reinstating the four programs and doing so before state approval of the university’s operating budget.

House Bill 320 originally would have appropriated $2 million to reinstate the men’s and women’s skiing teams, beach volleyball and men’s soccer varsity programs and provide greater oversight of athletic expenditures.

A vote by the Democrat-controlled New Mexico House of Representatives is expected this week following the passage of the state spending plan by the House Appropriations and Finance Committee along party lines, 12-6. The $7 million state budget calls for an increase of more than 10 percent and still leaves reserves of nearly $1.6 billion in the state’s general fund.

The increase in spending comes amid record revenues from a surge in oil production in the Permian Basin, which straddles southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

As it stands now, the 2018 fall season that ended on Nov. 7 will be the last the New Mexico men's soccer team plays. A 4-0 loss to Old Dominion dropped the Lobos' record to 4-12-1 for their first losing season in 15 years.

It followed a decision by the University of New Mexico board of regents last summer to discontinue the four varsity programs at the end of the 2018-19 school year in an effort to stem the tide of deficits -- eight in the last 11 years -- that have plagued Lobo athletics and bring the department into compliance with Title IX.
6 comments about "Legislative pressure mounts on New Mexico to reinstate varsity men's soccer".
  1. Wooden Ships, February 19, 2019 at 10:57 p.m.

    I could do without ski teams and beach volleyball. The worlds most played sport, no. Former Albuquerque resident. 

  2. humble 1, February 20, 2019 at 9:48 a.m.

    Ships, it’s not a question of what the ‘worlds’ sports are.  It’s New Mexico, USA, and what they are asking to put back was what was taken away.  Make it happen!

  3. frank schoon replied, February 20, 2019 at 3:57 p.m.

    Unbelievable!!! and likewise I find it unbelievable University of Tenn. ,Knoxville doesn't have a men's team...I hope Red Prudhon and those guys are still around making it happen...

  4. Ric Fonseca, February 23, 2019 at 1:46 p.m.

    In previous/past articles of this genre, I've commented that for the most part, Directors of Athletics are usually wont to not have anyghing to do with our sport.  I know 'cause I expereinced it several decades ago here in Southern California, when the two major persons with whom I interviewed were former or current baseball/football coaches and they made their anti-soccer feelings well known.  Fortunately the sport prevailed and several years after being hired, we formed a women's soccer club program that has since grown into a solid DI program alongside the men's.  They (ADs and the administration) always cry about the lack of funds (though some factual, some they are fast to point outsoccer, as the possible financial drain factor, etc.)   And it is worthwhile to mention those others in intercollegiate athletics to blam Title IX, but they fail miserably not to mention the exhorbitant budgets for the "revenue making" sports such as football, basketball, and baseball; lastly I must also lay the blame on the NCAA what with their some/many archaic rules and regulations for competition, etc.   And so, Good luck to the UNM Lobos.

  5. frank schoon replied, February 23, 2019 at 2:49 p.m.

    Ric, they've had club soccer since the 60's at U.T Knoxvile, long before there was ever even if a thought on women's soccer, but the women have a Varsity soccer program, not the men. There is no other reason other than title IX as far as I see it. I remember back in the 60's complaining to UT they should have a soccer program and ofcourse I realized we're talking in the days ,like you state, the AD's didn't even how to spell soccer or were adverse to it.

  6. John Polis, February 27, 2019 at 3:03 p.m.

    Here's a link to an op-ed I wrote in the Albuquerque Journal protesting the removal of soccer. https://www.abqjournal.com/1200473/dropping-mens-soccer-a-blow-to-abq.html

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