When the UNM Lobos and Boise State Broncos basketball teams meet Wednesday night in Idaho, things promise to be intense.
Just don’t expect any backstabbing or stash-clearing scuffles.
Both the schools and the league office say they all played nice with each other and got along in the wake of an incident a month ago in the pit — when the Lobos won a thrilling game 81-79 — in which Boise State head coach Leon Rice said the Lobo baseball team was deliberately out of a room. He undressed for his team and could have started a half-time “riot” with his team.
Witness accounts in a report submitted by the United Nations Mission to the Mountain West Conference, which included police officers in the area, seem to indicate that the closest thing that happened to a physical altercation was when “Rice himself responded by pinning (baseball player Lobo Cam Walton) to the wall” by going from the chest. to the chest with him” after baseball players were trash-talking and booing his team.
Rice came down to the hall and had a lengthy discussion with the game official as that umpire walked down the pit ramp and entered the field, where the announced crowd of 14,566 fans in the pit could see a visibly agitated Rice making an impassioned plea for something to be done.
UNM has acknowledged that its baseball team, which was acknowledged on court during the first media timeout after halftime, gathered too early in the hallway near the Broncos locker room—where they were not supposed to congregate until the Broncos were back on the court.
Rice said in an interview with Boise media, including a A video viewed on Twitter 115,000 times posted by BJ Rains of Bronco Nation News, that he felt UNM’s baseball team was there on purpose—”yeah, they did it on purpose”—and that the “riot” almost broke out. He said of UNM’s apology that it “doesn’t help if there was a fight” and added that the matter “needs to be addressed by Mountain West.”
Leon Rice went to New Mexico management to allow the baseball team to stand outside the locker room as the players were coming out after halftime. He said it got physical. pic.twitter.com/Xy4cjK8hGx
– BJ Rains (@BJRains) January 21, 2023
Therefore, the Journal filed a request under the Public Records Inspection Act of correspondence between UNM and the league’s office to see if the matter had been addressed, as Rice had requested.
Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez wrote in a memo to league administrators on January 24 after reviewing the incident and reports submitted by UNM’s game-day staff.
The memo, obtained as part of a records request, commended both schools for their “professionalism and communication” in handling the matter and noted that it was a good opportunity for all schools to “reaffirm … the game’s management safeguards”.
She also noted that the conference had made a “thorough review” of the matter, and while there were parts of the public records that were revised, there was no indication in the released parts of the documents that any order was imposed as a result.
The magazine asked Boise State athletic director Jeremiah Dickey and Rice, through the team’s media contact, for comment.
“We stand behind Mountain West’s review of this matter,” Dickey told the newspaper in an email. “I appreciate Eddie (Nunez, AD at UNM), Gloria and their staff, as well as our team, for working quickly to come up with a solution and allowing everyone to move forward productively.”
He also noted that he was “looking forward to a great game Wednesday night!”
UNM Incident Report
The UNM Incident Report included photographs showing the visiting locker room in the area of the pit’s middle slope located near the stairwell that accesses the arena’s concourse area.
It has been used for years by large groups that congregate in the midramp area during games when they are walked down the pit ramp and recognized or honored on the field during timeouts.
In this case, the person assembling the baseball team was working on their first lobo and the team went down the stairs before they did.
UNMIS officials admitted to Rice personally that night that the team should not have been in that area at the time, but eyewitnesses at the scene told the newspaper that night that it never appeared as though combat was about to take place. The accident report made similar statements:
Police officer Camacho who was stationed in the area approached the confrontation and tried to calm everyone down but did not feel the need to report the incident. The report stated that the UN mission had four police officers in the middle of the road at the time.
UNM’s report to the league also included the following, referenced in part above:
According to a UNM marketing employee and two baseball players), BSU men’s basketball coach Leon Rice came out of the locker room and started swearing at the baseball team. The assumption is that Coach Rice thought his players were involved in the confrontation up front in the hallway. They weren’t. He started shoving. His way through the crowd, telling the baseball team to “get out of the lobby.”Cam Walton replied that this was the UNM entrance to which Coach Rice responded by “pinning” Cam to the wall by going chest-to-chest with him.No baseball player reacted to the coach’s actions Then Coach Rice made his way across the hallway and began a heated exchange with the game official.”
New Mexico in Boise State, 8:30 PM, FS1, 770 AM / 96.3 FM
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