New oversight instituted for New Mexico athletic department


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico is instituting new controls and oversight of athletics department finances as it continues a review that has found “inconsistencies” in contracts for basketball arena suites, the university said Monday.

A top university administrator, Chris Vallegos, will head efforts to evaluate and improve the department’s financial management while working with the recently appointed acting athletic director, interim President Chaouki Abdallah said in a statement.

Janice Ruggiero was appointed acting athletic director last month following the departure of Paul Krebs, who retired effective June 30.

Meanwhile, state auditors and the state attorney general’s office continue separate inquiries into the department’s overall spending and a 2015 golf trip to Scotland that included private donors.

Abdallah said the university is reviewing records of suites for the Lobos men’s and women’s basketball seasons.

“This process has revealed inconsistencies in contracts, invoices and payments for certain suites, and we are in the process of contacting current and former suite holders to rectify our records and accounts,” Abdallah said. “We will seek to collect on any past due amounts.”

Abdallah also said “UNM Athletics has already updated its management of suite purchases and collections for this past season, which has resulted in more accurate accounting and more timely payments. ”

The university, Abdallah said, is “committed to transparency and fiduciary responsibility, and we take responsibility for the confusion that may have resulted from inconsistent business practices. To the extent that our efforts to rectify discrepancies have resulted in embarrassment to our fans, we sincerely apologize. Efforts are underway to make sure that this situation won’t be repeated.”