The University of New Mexico will return to putting up football team members in a hotel the night before home games in 2019, after the practice was suspended all of last season as a cost-saving measure.
In the past, the logistics of game-day activities, which include meetings and at least one meal, were the primary reason for having the football team stay at a hotel the night before home games. However, player safety became a priority for head coach Bob Davie after UNM baseball player Jackson Weller was fatally shot outside a Nob Hill club May 4. In the wake of that tragedy, Davie approached UNM athletic director Eddie Nunez about returning to the football program's hotel policy.
“Not that we can have all 110 kids at the hotel; we only take the travel team (up to 70 players)," Davie said, as reported by the Albuquerque Journal. "But that is a dangerous, dangerous thing to be not keeping a college football team in a hotel the night before a game.”
Nunez agreed, suggesting that UNM will find other ways to save money — without providing specifics.
Having the UNM football players drive to the practice facility for meetings, drive back home, then drive to a dining hall for a team meal proved challenging on days of home games, Davie said. It didn't take long for an example of what can go wrong to emerge. On the day of last year’s home opener against Incarnate Word, UNM punter Tyson Dyer’s car broke down on Interstate 25, and someone from the team had to go pick him up.
The Lobos went 1-5 at home last year, when they finished 3-9 overall. UNM compiled a 2-4 home record in 2017 and also finished 3-9.