Heiar: Was ‘sacrificial lamb’ after NMSU incidents

  • Myron Medcalf, ESPN

    • Personnel WriterAug 2, 2023, 02:35 PM ET Close Covers college basketball
    • Signed up with ESPN.com in 2011
    • Graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato

Former New Mexico State basketball coach Greg Heiar said he did not know about hazing allegations within his program when was fired with cause in February and accused the school of terminating him due to the fact that it needed a “sacrificial lamb” after a series of occurrences, according to arbitration files obtained by ESPN.Heiar’s termination followed a choice by Dan Arvizu, the school’s previous chancellor, to cancel the season in February after previous player Mike Peake had been associated with a self-defense shooting in November and the revelation of a hazing examination tied to accusations of sexual assault and harassment within the team.In June, NMSU consented to pay$8 million integrated to former NMSU player Deuce Benjamin and his daddy, William, and previous NMSU player Shak Odunewu.In its action to Heiar and his legal team, NMSU rejected the bulk of the

previous head coach’s accusations, according to the arbitration files, but it likewise said the coach “declined to cooperate”with the hazing investigation prior to his termination for cause.Editor’s Picks 1 Related Heiar said he was uninformed of hazing accusations within his program, despite the fact that the school had been notified more

than a month before informing him about an examination attached to those allegations. In its action to Heiar, the school said that it might not notify Heiar or any coaches about the claims, which were conveyed to school authorities in December, due to Title IX and school policies.Heiar is seeking an undetermined amount for breach of contract and actions that were “willful, wanton, and with careless disregard.”” Coach Heiar has actually suffered and continues to suffer financial and/or economic damages … that have and will continue to avoid him from comparable rewarding work in the coaching industry, for which he is entitled to an award of financial damages and relief,”New Mexico-based Danoff Law Firm, which represents Heiar, stated in its statement of claims.Heiar, who has because been hired as the head coach at Mineral Area College (Park Hills, Missouri), a junior college, also declared NMSU failed to inform him of a”hazardous and deceptive culture “that limited accountability for players when he was hired to succeed former head coach Chris Jans in 2022. Heiar also said he did not understand about his program’s scholastic problems– the school’s APR dropped following the COVID season– when he accepted the job.Heiar’s statement of claims detailed a lengthy list

of accusations versus NMSU that preceded his termination.Heiar stated he was with AD Mario Moccia at his home when he got a video that showed an October fight at an NMSU-New Mexico football game, which included Peake and New Mexico trainee Brandon Travis. Heiar said the athletic director “smiled”and said the video revealed NMSU players”whooping up on some Lobos.”Heiar alleges that he was obstructed from suspending Peake or other players for their functions in the brawl.Heiar also alleges that Moccia and his superiors seized control of the program and would not enable him to discipline players who had actually been involved in the consequences of a November shooting that resulted in Travis’death.In its response, NMSU said Heiar never lost his authority to discipline players during the 2022-23 season which the school” only made tips regarding basketball related discipline because [Heiar] stopped working to act.” After the self-defense shooting in November, Heiar consulted with regional authorities in Albuquerque. He said he feared retaliation when he decided to leave town without addressing follow-up call from authorities who, according to occurrence reports, were looking for evidence and seeking interviews with players.In his declaration of claims, Heiar stated he advised a bus driver to go to a rest stop and wait for police to arrive when he discovered officers were pursuing the team’s bus, where they discovered Peake’s iPad. His gun was obtained at the hotel. His phone was on the bus, however cops did not acquire it during their search. The authorities report said authorities had instructed officers to stop the NMSU bus after it had actually left town during the preliminary investigation and Heiar had failed to address their phone calls.Following the shooting, Heiar said he wished to suspend and discipline players who had actually been seen on video with Peake, who was likewise wounded, however Moccia told him “we simply require to win, win, win. This will all disappear but we do not need any more bad media at this point; we are on thin ice, getting thinner.” Marchelus Avery, Issa Muhammad and Anthony Roy, who carried Peake to the healthcare facility after the shooting, were subsequently suspended for one game by

NMSU administration.School authorities had actually been warned of hazing allegations within the team on Dec. 31, 2022, when the dad of a trainee supervisor discussed the claims with an NMSU administrator, who later on called the school’s Office of Institutional Equity, which manages Title IX investigations, on Jan. 3. The school, in its reaction, stated that it did not notify Heiar about the allegations within his program because of Title IX and school policies.New hazing allegations in

February preceded the administration’s choice to cancel NMSU’s season and fire Heiar.In his declaration of claims, Heiar said he was in settlement talks with the school after his group’s season was canceled and rescheduled an interview with Title IX investigators about the hazing accusations, days prior to his firing, due to the fact that his previous attorney had been unavailable. He said he was ended without the completion of the investigation.In its response, the school stated it did not have to complete its examination to fire Heiar, per his contract, but said the previous head coach failed in his “duties to comply “in the hazing investigation.An arbitration hearing between the 2 celebrations is expected to begin at some point in 2024.

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