Here Lies WisePies: “Less is More”

By Daniel Libit

It was always only a matter of time.

Even before The Pit was renamed WisePies Arena, in December 2014, those negotiating the naming-rights deal on behalf of the University of New Mexico and UNM Foundation assumed it would never reach maturity. Continue reading “Here Lies WisePies: “Less is More””

UNM Fund: 1st Amendment Crusader?

By Daniel Libit

The UNM Foundation and University of New Mexico Board of Regents have now formally responded in court to our public records lawsuit, arguing, among other things, that the Foundation’s resistance to transparency is actually a defense of the First Amendment. Continue reading “UNM Fund: 1st Amendment Crusader?”

Dan Dakich: Krebs’ Coach Whisperer

By Daniel Libit

There’s still much to sort out about the University of New Mexico’s spasmodic search to replace former men’s basketball coach Craig Neal, whose firing was announced minutes before midnight on March 31.

Thereafter, a number of names emerged from the fray — San Antonio Spurs assistant James Borrego, Florida Gulf Coach University’s Joe Dooley, UT Arlington’s Scott Cross, East Tennessee State’s Steve Forbes and, for the real fantasizers, recently deposed Indiana coach Tom Crean — only to retreat in succession, leading to the under-the-wire hire of New Mexico State’s Paul Weir.

What exactly was going on behind-the-scenes still remains something of a mystery, although UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs has insisted that the process ultimately played out as it was supposed to. Continue reading “Dan Dakich: Krebs’ Coach Whisperer”

UNM to Hopkins: Now Pay us $63K

By Daniel Libit

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from UNM spokesperson Cinnamon Blair. 

In direct response to NMFishbowl.com’s story last month about former Lobo basketball operations director Cody Hopkins, the University of New Mexico has now formally demanded Hopkins pay the school $63,411. That amount represents the sum total of all unreconciled charges a UNM Special Audit claimed Hopkins had put on his school Purchasing Card, regardless of whether the charges were for legitimate purposes.

The school’s demand was issued in a terse, one-page letter sent on March 15 by Kimberly Bell, UNM’s senior deputy counsel, to Hopkins’ lawyer Elizabeth Higginbotham. NMFishbowl.com recently obtained a copy of that letter through a public records request. In it, Bell writes that university officials “read with interest” the NMFishbowl.com article, and noted several “apparent admissions” Hopkins made, which included his failing to keep up with his P-Card reconciliations; forging signatures; and using the P-Card for personal or family expenses. Continue reading “UNM to Hopkins: Now Pay us $63K”

Podcast: It’s Foundational

By Daniel Libit

NMFishbowl.com recently spoke with legendary journalist Dave Marash for his “HERE & THERE” podcast/radio show, where we discussed the Cody Hopkins saga and our public records lawsuit against the University of New Mexico Foundation. You can listen to the hour-long conversation by clicking here. We readily encourage you to do so.

Much like Craig Neal, The Fishbowl is taking a nice, long vacation, following a very mad March. (Regrettably, unlike Neal, the university is not paying us $1 million to do so.) We’ve also commenced several longer-term projects related to UNM Athletics, so the postings on this site will be relatively light over the next month or so. But take no comfort, Lobo obscurantists: we’ll be back, sooner than you’d like.

Alford’s Big Ten Albatross

By Daniel Libit

Editor’s note: Amidst the rumblings about ex-Lobo coach Steve Alford’s potential return to Indiana, to lead the Hoosiers, one mustn’t  forget the last time he oversaw a Big Ten program. Alford’s coaching tenure at Iowa, from 1999-2007, included many missteps, but none more outrageous than his decision to stand by former star player Pierre Pierce, who was twice accused — and eventually convicted — of sexual assault. After Alford was hired at UCLA, I interviewed Pierce, in what were his first public comments about the matter since he went to prison. The following story was originally published on April 12, 2013 at ChicagoSideSports.com.  Continue reading “Alford’s Big Ten Albatross”

The Unknowns of UNM’s Accounting

By Daniel Libit

No outside party has any real or verifiable idea about how much money the UNM Athletic Department spends, what it spends that money for, and the true size of the department’s substantial budget deficit.  And that’s an enormous problem when New Mexico taxpayers are annually asked to sign a check to cover the excesses of UNM Athletics.

The financial paper trail reported by UNM’s Athletic Department is so confounding that even State Auditor Tim Keller might find it impossible to sort it all out — even though he’s suggested publicly that he’s keeping tabs. Continue reading “The Unknowns of UNM’s Accounting”

Why We’re Suing the UNM Foundation

By Daniel Libit

According to its official slogan, the University of New Mexico Foundation is, “Where generosity meets excellence.”

Left unstated, however, is that the Foundation is also where generosity meets secrecy.

Actually, that might have once been stated rather explicitly. A 2015 Columbia Journalism Review article reported that the UNM Foundation’s website once advertised the following benefit to donors:

“[g]reater assurance of … confidentiality, since [it] is a separate not-for-profit corporation and not subject to open records laws.”

Curiously, those words no longer appear online, but the ethos of obfuscation continues to abound — for now.

This week, in Bernalillo County Court, I filed the very first open records lawsuit against the Foundation. Continue reading “Why We’re Suing the UNM Foundation”

The Reconciliation of Cody Hopkins

By Daniel Libit

HUNT, Texas — On Dec. 14, 2015, Cody Hopkins, the former University of New Mexico men’s basketball operations director, pulled up to the crossing-guard gate of La Hacienda Treatment Center, 80 miles northwest of San Antonio.

Tucked away on a remote, limestone shelf in the Texas Hill Country, Hopkins would try to make sense of a year that had fallen off a cliff. There would be no alcohol here. There would be no cell phone. And, ever mercifully, there would be no Purchasing Card statements.

Hopkins hoped that his arrival here marked the rock-bottom of his descent, the point where he could begin to climb out of the hole. And he was led to believe that UNM, his current employer, was behind him in this effort — or, at the very least, not against him.

But on Dec. 22, eight days into his treatment, Hopkins decided to check back in with the rest of the world. For the first time since he entered La Hacienda, he logged onto a computer — one with lumbering, dial-up Internet — to see if he could catch the score of the UNM-Auburn game at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. Best he could figure was to find it on the Twitter feed of Geoff Grammer, the Albuquerque Journal Lobos beat reporter, where instead he discovered this: Continue reading “The Reconciliation of Cody Hopkins”