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New Mexico State Coach Denies Bullying, Racism Allegations

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New Mexico State football coach Doug Martin is denying allegations made against him and his program.

Martin, who has a 22-63 record in seven years in Las Cruces, N.M., told the Las Cruces Sun-News on Tuesday that he denies recent complaints of bullying and racism.

“This is a ridiculous allegation that will be proven false by players and trainers and everyone around here,” Martin said. “It comes from a single disgruntled parent who has a kid that was not getting to play. They have been threatening me all year long that if their kid didn’t play, they had friends who could get me fired. They have used racial slurs saying I treat black players better than other players. This will all come out in the end to be false.”

The issue came to light via a letter from the Office of the Attorney General to New Mexico State President John Floros. The letter said that the Attorney General’s office had received multiple complaints regarding the football program, including Martin putting students in peril by requiring them to practice in dangerous conditions; instructing players to not see trainers and to play when injured; and disparate treatment of minority student athletes, nepotism and hiring disparities. This led New Mexico State to look into the situation.

"During the first week in November 2019, this office and the NMSU Office of the Chancellor began a preliminary investigation after receiving an external complaint directed toward the conduct of its head football coach," New Mexico State General Counsel Roy Collins wrote in a Dec. 9 letter to the AG's Office. "Additionally, the NMSU Human Resources Services office has disclosed confidentiality that it has examined a prior complaint regarding nepotism within the NMSU athletics department under the leadership of that head coach."

The Attorney General’s office responded Dec. 11 saying it was especially concerning that the complaint alleges different treatment of minority student athletes. Several more details were provided, including that Martin was intimidating and threatening toward players, engaging in verbal bullying, weaponizing medical injury information, disparaging injury treatment plans, and forcing players to practice in dangerous weather.

New Mexico State, a Division I FBS team, wrapped up a 2-10 season with a 49-28 loss to Liberty on Nov. 30. Martin led the Aggies to their first bowl game in 57 years when they won the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl in 2017, capping off a 7-6 season.

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