LAS CRUCES, N.M. — New Mexico State University suspended operations of its men’s basketball program indefinitely Friday night and placed its coaching staff on paid administrative leave due to allegations the school says are unrelated to a fatal shooting involving one of its players last year.
The school said the new allegations involved potential violations of university policy and were separate from the Nov. 19 shooting of a student from rival University of New Mexico. Aggies power forward Mike Peake was suspended in early December while a third-party investigator looks into his involvement in the shooting in Albuquerque.
After the shooting, New Mexico State’s coach, Greg Heiar, loaded the team on to a bus and left town, minus Peake and three players who had picked him up and taken him to the hospital with leg injuries. Police stopped the bus on its way back to Las Cruces.
Peake has not been charged in the shooting. The district attorney in Albuquerque is conducting a separate investigation.
The school’s announcement said Friday’s move was not related to the shooting. The board of regents released a separate statement saying it supported “the action taken by the university leaders and is confident a full and thorough investigation will be conducted.
New Mexico State’s game against California Baptist on Saturday was canceled.
The Aggies had previously canceled the game in Albuquerque that had been scheduled the night after the shooting, along with the Dec. 3 rematch in Las Cruces. A frequent presence in the NCAA Tournament, the Aggies are 9-15 in Heiar’s first season as coach after taking over for Chris Jans, who left for Mississippi State.
Leadership at the school is also in flux. The board of regents recently decided not to renew the contract of Chancellor Dan Arvizu, which expires in June. Over the past 14 months, both the school’s president and provost have resigned or been removed from their positions.