LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – Former New Mexico State men’s basketball coach Greg Heiar said he was fired in February after a series of incidents within his basketball program because the university needed a “sacrificial lamb,” according to a report by ESPN on Wednesday.

The report by Myron Medcalf cites arbitration documents obtained by ESPN. KTSM has requested the arbitration documents through multiple channels and was waiting to obtain them as of Wednesday afternoon.

According to ESPN’s report, Heiar claimed in the arbitration documents that he was unaware of hazing allegations within his program when he was fired on Feb. 14 for cause. His firing came after the school elected to cancel the remainder of the season after two serious incidents, first a deadly self-defense shooting involving former NMSU forward Mike Peake, then a hazing and sexual assault investigation within the team.

In June, the school settled a lawsuit with former players Shakiru Odunewu, Deuce Benjamin and Deuce’s father, William, for a total of $8 million.

Heiar is seeking an undetermined amount of money from NMSU for breach of contract, according to ESPN. He was hired as the new head coach at Mineral Area College, a junior college in Missouri, on July 1. He also claims that the school did not make him aware of a, “toxic and secretive culture” that limited accountability for players, according to ESPN’s report.

“Coach Heiar has suffered and continues to suffer monetary and/or economic damages … that have and will continue to prevent him from similar gainful employment in the coaching industry, for which he is entitled to an award of monetary damages and relief,” New Mexico-based Danoff Law Firm, which represents Heiar, said in its statement of claims in the documents obtained by ESPN.

NMSU denied the majority of Heiar’s claims, according to the arbitration documents obtained by ESPN. The school has said on numerous occasions that Heiar did not cooperate with the investigation prior to being fired.

Heiar said in the documents that he was unaware of any hazing allegations within his program, even though he says in the arbitration documents that the university had been investigating claims stemming from the hazing allegations for over a month before alerting him to them. The school said in its response to Heiar that it could not disclose the allegations, which were made in December, 2022, because of Title IX policies, according to ESPN.

According to the players’ lawsuit that was settled last month, Odunewu said he told Heiar multiple times about the hazing and sexual assault he sustained during the 2022-23 season. The lawsuit alleges that the hazing initially began in the summer of 2022.

Heiar’s version of events also includes a long list of accusations against the university that occurred throughout the 2022-23 season.

One of them is an accusation from Heiar that he was at athletic director Mario Moccia’s house when he received video of a fight at the Oct. 15 New Mexico-NMSU football game, which involved Peake and multiple UNM students and is the alleged precursor to the shooting in Albuquerque involving Peake one month later.

According to the report, Heiar said that Moccia smiled and said the video showed NMSU players, “whooping up on some Lobos.” Heiar alleged that he was blocked from suspending players from their role in the fight; the school said in November that the players were disciplined, but would not reveal how.

Heiar also said that he was instructed not to discipline players involved in the aftermath of the Nov. 19 shooting in Albuquerque that left Peake injured and UNM student Brandon Travis dead. Peake was suspended indefinitely by the school, while Marchelus Avery, Issa Muhammad and Anthony Roy were all eventually suspended for one game.

The university said, according to the documents, that the school, “only made suggestions regarding basketball related discipline because [Heiar] failed to act.”

According to the documents obtained by ESPN, Heiar said he wanted to discipline the players who had been with Peake. Heiar alleges in the arbitration documents that Moccia told him, “we just need to win, win, win. This will all go away but we do not need any more bad media at this point; we are on thin ice, getting thinner.”

Moccia would not comment on Heiar’s comments regarding what he allegedly said. Moccia was given a new, five-year contract extension from NMSU in April, something the school told KTSM at the time had been in the works for some time.

According to ESPN’s report on the arbitration documents, university officials were told about hazing allegations from the father of a student manager on Dec. 31, 2022. The investigation was handed over to the school’s Office of Institutional Equity, which handles Title IX cases, on Jan 3. The school said that it did not tell Heiar because of Title IX policies.

KTSM has requested the documents for the Title IX report filed in January for months, but has yet to receive copies, because it is still an open investigation.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s office is also investigating Heiar, former associate head coach Dominique Taylor and former players Kim Aiken Jr., Doctor Bradley and Deshawndre Washington for possible criminal charges stemming from the lawsuit from the Benjamins and Odunewu.

An arbitration hearing is scheduled for 2024, according to ESPN’s report.