Sunday, October 10, 2010

UNM vs. NMSU vs. UTEP: A Suggestion

Photo by Mark Bralley
We need to continue investing our tax dollars in the attempt to play big time football at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University. All this investment is absolutely required to provide sports journalists with the opportunity to create tacky headlines. Case in point: from the Albuquerque Journal, Saturday, October 9. “Battle of the Beatens Scheduled Tonight.” Nice.
At the end of the story, NMU coach DeWayne Walker posed the unthinkable. Stating the obvious, he said NMSU has never had a winning program, “and when you look at the resources we have compared to New Mexico, it’s not even close what they have to what we have.
“I just think everybody, from the administration to the community, at some point we’re going to have to make a decision on how bad we want a legitimate football program.”
Lack of resources and all, Walker’s Aggies beat UNM 16-14. Walker’s two-year record is now 4-14. With the loss, UNM’S Mike Locksley brought his record to 1-17.
A few weeks back, UNM’s football boosters made a market decision on Locksley. They decided to not come up with the big bucks needed to buy out Locksley’s contract. After all, there’s still a recession in Albuquerque.
Here’s a suggestion. Have the Lobos, the Aggies and the University of Texas at El Paso drop their respective conferences, which amount to little on the scale of things anyway. Recruit some other area schools such as Eastern New Mexico and Adams State and form a “Rio Grande Conference.” Follow the Ivy League example and emphasize the social aspects of football afternoons while keeping the game itself at a level where fans could enjoy the competition without embarrassment.
Besides, more locals would be able to play.
My friend Mark Bralley suggests adding more New Mexico schools to the proposed conference—St. John's in Santa Fe, New Mexico Tech, Central New Mexico (which is a community college so that probably wouldn't work). Such a group should include University of the Southwest in Hobbs which actually competes in intercollegiate athletics, though not football, in a conference, the Red River Athletic Conference. University of the Southwest is one of two non-Texas schools in the conference. The other is from Louisiana. The existing RRAM schools don't play football, but surely that detail could be solved along the lines suggested above.
St. John's only intercollegiate athletics competition that I know of is an annual croquet match in Annapolis with the Naval Academy. Tech's alphabetical topic list on the website lack an entry for athletics but Tech is offering a club-level, it appears from the website, women's rugby team named the Pygmy Queens. The notion of an athletic contest between Tech and St. John's offers all sorts of delightful notions, Socrates and Kant vs. string theory. Or something.
Mark's photograph is of UNM's Locksley speaking to the New Mexico State Senate early in 2009. That year Locksley coached in Senate basketball team which beat the House for the first time in nine years. Bralley wonders that if Locksley became the permanent Senate basketball coach, then maybe the government reorganization task force could find something to cut that would actually save money.

No comments: