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New Mexico State cancels remainder of 2023 season

Aggies’ program put on halt after hazing allegations, including criminal sexual contact.

Lousiana-Lafayette v Creighton Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

*Editor’s note: details that some may find disturbing.

New Mexico State University announced its basketball program has been put on hold Sunday after a hazing incident.

A police report, which was filed on Friday, detailed a member of the team being a victim of harassment, falsely imprisonment and criminal sexual conduct.

The unnamed victim told investigators that on Feb. 6, three teammates held him down, exposed his buttocks and slapped him there. He also said they touched his scrotum, according to the report.

The victim told police he had no choice but to let the incident happen “because it’s a 3-on-1 type of situation.”

He said other similar incidents have been recurring since last July or August and have taken place in the locker room and on road trips. He said another teammate may have been experienced similar abuse.

“This action is clearly needed, especially after receiving additional facts and reviewing investigation reports related to the hazing allegations involving student-athletes on the team,” Dan Arvizu, the chancellor of the New Mexico State University system, said as part of a statement. “Hazing has no place on our campus, and those found responsible will be held accountable for their actions.”

The University also announced that first-year head coach Greg Heiar and the rest of the coaching staff were placed on administrative leave on Friday, which was when it also announced its game at Cal Baptist was canceled and the season suspended.

Over the weekend, the school confirmed those decisions were connected to the hazing allegations.

As of Sunday night, no criminal charges have been filed.

The Aggies, who conclude the season at 9-15 and 2-10 in the WAC, had six games remaining on its schedule.

“The Western Athletic Conference is committed to both the mental and physical wellbeing of all of our student-athletes,” WAC Commissioner Brian Thornton said in a statement. “We are saddened and disappointed that hazing continues to be a part of our society at any level.

“Over the last 48 hours, our staff and membership have been working to find a solution that best protects every WAC student-athlete and institution,” Thornton continued. “We fully support New Mexico State’s decision to suspend the rest of its season, as they take this time to focus on the health and safety of their student-athletes.”

The season had a tumultuous start for the Aggies as well when forward Mike Peake shot and killed a University of New Mexico student in November. Police called the incident self-defense. He was indefinitely suspended by the school in December.

The Albuquerque district attorney and the school launched investigations into the incident after coaches and staffers were found to have multiple pieces of potential evidence.