After KKOB-AM in Albuquerque, SbB was the first to bring you the saga of New Mexico football coach Mike Locksley, who has now admitted to being the aggressor in an altercation with now-exiled assistant coach J.B. Gerald. An altercation in which Gerald claims Locksley punched him. (Police later confirmed a cut on Gerald’s lip.)
(If he didn’t seriously assault assistant, why did Locksley apologize? )
After SbB posted the Locksley story, ESPN college football writer Bruce Feldman called the university to inquire about what was being done in regards to a week-old police report filed by Gerald about Locksley’s alleged assault.
Hours later, we had a suddenly had a statement from Locksley apologizing - but not telling us why he was sorry. That was followed up by a laughable “verbal reprimand” of Locksley from New Mexico AD Paul Krebs, who declared the entire incident closed.
So on the face of everything, it appears there’s a very good chance Locksley slugged an assistant coach and got away with it scot-free.
But the ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL reports that thanks to an avalanche of complaints from university employees and alumni over how the matter was handled - and Locksley’s behavior - the university has re-opened Krebs’ “closed” investigation.
Martin Salazar of the Journal reports:
On Monday, UNM Athletics Vice President Paul Krebs announced that Locksley had been reprimanded for the altercation and that he considered the matter closed. A day later, UNM Human Resources Vice President Helen Gonzales told the Journal an investigation would be launched.
Based on that investigation, Locksley could face tougher sanctions, up to and including termination. One university policy states that any act of violence will not be tolerated. A second states that an assault or battery on another person is grounds for suspension and even termination.
Locksley will continue to coach as the investigation is conducted. The ultimate decision on his fate likely will be made by Krebs, Gonzales and UNM President David Schmidly, Gonzales said.
Okay, that sounds reasonable, until we get this:
“I believe Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs is handling this situation with honor and integrity, and he has my full support,” Schmidly said.
Gonzales said she discussed the matter with Krebs on Tuesday, and she said both Krebs and the athletics department welcomed the investigation.
Right, Krebs “welcomed” being embarrassed by having the issue re-opened after he declared it “closed” in a press conference on Monday.
Now for the real reason the investigation was re-opened: a mountain of complaints about Krebs’ fake punishment of Locksley.
Example, per Salazar:
This should be treated as one would treat any other altercation on campus. …,” said Faculty Senate President Douglas Fields. “There should be no bypass of business policies and procedures just because it happens to be a football coach.”
“Otherwise, you’re giving the message that as long as you’re stressed and underperforming, it’s OK to hit somebody,” he said.
Elisha Allen, Staff Council president, said staff members have been voicing their concerns to him about what they perceive as unequal treatment of employees.
Despite those complaints, I still believe that nothing will come of this second, in-house “investigation”, which is solely designed to placate concerned university employees.
BUT, if Gerald eventually changes his mind and decides to press charges against Locksley, which could happen once he gets nudged out the door at UNM and can’t get hired anywhere because he’s become a pariah in college coaching circles, we could have ourselves a police investigation.
And then the truth will eventually come out, upon which Gerald could eventually receive a big fat settlement check from the State of New Mexico and Locksley could quite possibly be shown the door.
And Krebs, who caused the whole mess in the first place by not seriously addressing Locksley’s inexcusable behavior, will suddenly find himself on very, very shaky ground.
As it should be.