ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – University of New Mexico Vice President for Athletics, Paul Krebs, has announced a one-week suspension without pay for women’s soccer head coach Kit Vela in connection with the Aug. 17 hazing incident involving the members of her team.
Vela will not be permitted to have any contact with the team beginning Monday. Additionally, assistant coaches Jorge Vela and Krista Foo have been issued a letter of reprimand.
All members of the Lobo women’s soccer team – with the exception of the true freshmen – will serve a one-game suspension. The entire team already has lost one game when today’s season opener at No. 17 Texas Tech was canceled.
That means 22 of the 29 student-athletes will have missed two games of the team’s 17-game regular season. The suspensions are to occur as soon as possible while allowing the team enough eligible players to field a full team.
The University is in the process of implementing an alcohol education program, in addition to the anti-hazing program the women’s soccer team already is in the process of completing. All UNM student-athletes will be assigned to take both courses. The women’s soccer team will be the first program to take the alcohol education course.
The team also voluntarily has designed a community service program that has been approved.
“We believe the disciplinary measures we have taken today send a clear message about the gravity of the incident, and that it is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Krebs said. “We feel we have a full understanding of what happened that night through the facts we received from the third-party investigation. After talking with several of the parents of our true freshmen, we believe our course of action to be an appropriate response to the findings of that investigation.
“The incident serves as a reminder to us all of our responsibility to our student-athletes on and off the field. “
The Dean of Students still is assessing the matter to determine whether further action against any student-athletes is warranted. Once that issue is resolved, UNM will consider the matter closed.
“As the leader of this program, I take full responsibility for the actions of the members of our team,” Vela said. “I accept the consequences of our team’s mistakes. We intend to learn from this and use our abilities and our resources to teach others.”