LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Student-athletes at New Mexico State will now fall under the same code of conduct as regular students, and not necessarily be held to a higher standard.
Under the old policy, a student-athlete faced automatic dismissal when convicted of a felony. That is not the case any longer. The Albuquerque Journal called out NMSU for the move, but the NMSU chancellor is defending it.
In a statement released just days ago, Dan Arvizu says under their new policy, the athletic director won’t make disciplinary decisions for athletes. It will now be up to the Dean of Students. It’s a concept the university adopted in April, and believes it will strengthen the idea of holding athletes to a higher standard.
“There is that perception that there are college and high school athletes that can do whatever they want and get away with it. However, they have to understand they are representing the organizations that they are a part of, and they have to do it with an amount of respect and dignity,” says Michael Wieclaw.
The Journal editorial says the change benefits senior basketball player Terrell Brown. He pleaded no contest to a felony assault charge out of California in May, but will still get to play next season. The article also mentions that the university didn’t suspend forward Eli Chuha last year after he punched a UNM player.
People who KRQE News 13 spoke with said athletes should be treated like everyone else, but recognize they represent the university.
“They are in the public eye. They would have to abide by the rules since they’re under the scrutiny, their actions would have some sort of positive or negative image on the university,” says Lijo Samuel.
In a statement, NMSU says Brown will still have a hearing next semester and his case will be reviewed by the Dean of Students. KRQE News 13 reached out the Albuquerque Journal but did not hear back. A representative for NMSU says Chancellor Arvizu didn’t have any new comments but stands by his statement.