LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – After the series was cancelled in 2022-23 due to the involvement of a New Mexico State men’s basketball player in a deadly shooting on the University of New Mexico campus, the UNM-NMSU rivalry could be in jeopardy of not being played again in 2023-24.

KTSM confirmed an Albuquerque Journal report on Tuesday night that a two-game series that has been played almost nonstop for a century could be in jeopardy due to the same security concerns that cancelled the series in 2022-23.

The two schools have not yet come to an agreement regarding safety concerns after tensions arose following a deadly shooting on Nov. 19, 2022, involving former NMSU basketball player Mike Peake. As KTSM has reported, Peake was injured and – in self-defense – killed 19-year-old UNM student Brandon Travis after Travis and three other UNM students attacked him on UNM’s campus in the hours before the Aggies and Lobos were set to play the first game of the rivalry series.

The shooting was allegedly in retaliation for a brawl at the UNM-NMSU football game on Oct. 15, 2022, involving the UNM students, Peake and other NMSU basketball players. The three UNM students other than Travis involved in the attack on Peake were all charged with multiple crimes; KTSM reported last week that the Bernalillo County District Attorney ruled that no one from NMSU’s side would be charged with a crime in relation to the shooting.

UNM athletic director Eddie Nunez told the Journal that the schools have been discussing additional security measures for month. Nunez wants a written plan from NMSU and athletic director Mario Moccia detailing how NMSU will take additional steps to ensure the safety of fans at the Pan American Center, before agreeing to play a game in Las Cruces.

Moccia told KTSM on Tuesday that he forwarded Nunez’s requests to the proper channels at NMSU. Police chiefs for NMSU and UNM have spoken twice regarding the concerns, per Moccia, and UNM was assured that security levels would be sufficient. However, the written plan Nunez has requested has not been presented as of yet.

NMSU athletics does not control the Pan American Center; it is operated by the Special Events department. NMSU brought in metal detectors and additional security and police for games following the shooting during the 2022-23 season.

Nunez told the Journal that he would be willing to play just one game vs. NMSU in 2023-24, at The Pit in Albuquerque. However, Moccia told KTSM that he doesn’t want to give up on the idea of playing two games vs. UNM, like the two sides have done for a century and that he wants the rivalry as a whole to continue.

“We have been in constant communication with New Mexico State Athletics since January regarding my (request that they) address the safety and security of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff as well as our players’ families,” Nuñez said in statement provided to KTSM. UNM did not make Nunez available for additional comment. “As of yet, we have not been provided any direction regarding events in their basketball arena. We have offered the ability for NMSU men’s basketball to play here in Albuquerque, but they have informed us that is not an option. Until we are assured of a plan for events hosted by NMSU at their basketball arena, we will not move forward with scheduling a game there.”

On Wednesday afternoon, NMSU released a statement regarding the rivalry series, saying that the NMSU chief of police planned on reaching out to Nunez to discuss the matter.

“We know these games mean a lot to the people of New Mexico. Unfortunately, we’re not sure what the holdup has been on getting these matchups scheduled. The NMSU Police Department has had numerous conversations with the UNM Police Department over the past few months to share our safety and security plans,” the statement reads. “Additionally, our NMSU Police Chief planned on reaching out directly to the UNM Athletic Director later today. Our personnel have national-level training, and our game management processes meet industry standards for events of this magnitude. We’re hopeful we’ll be able to see our friends from Albuquerque in Las Cruces later this year.”

Teams across college basketball are still in the process of putting together their schedules for the 2023-24 season, so there is still time for the two sides to come to an agreement. However, spots on the nonconference schedule can dry up quickly, so it would behoove both sides to figure something out sooner, rather than later if the games are to be played.

NMSU fired coach Greg Heiar and let his entire staff go in February, following another, separate scandal. New head coach Jason Hooten will not be bringing back any players from the 2022-23 roster for his first season in 2023-24.

The football game between the two sides is still scheduled for Sept. 16 in Albuquerque. As for women’s basketball, UNM and NMSU will play just once in 2023-24, in Albuquerque, instead of twice as usual after coaches for both sides agreed to cutting the rivalry meetings in half. Moccia confirmed to KTSM that the decision has nothing to do with men’s basketball.