Pioneers say ‘Adios’ to Lobos in 2-2 draw – but may not be for long

The Pioneers fought to a 2-2 exhibition draw at CIBER field Wednesday night. But the Lobos may be getting a victory 400 miles to the south in Santa Fe as politicians scramble to find a long term funding solution to save the UNM men’s soccer program and three other athletic programs facing the budget ax.

Denver forged a 2-1 advantage the first half with goals by Andre Shinyashiki (30:26) and Moshe Perez (38:05). However, shortly after replacing veteran goalkeeper Nick Gardener with Will Palmquist at 71:17 of the second half, lightning struck for the Lobos. Confusion in front of the Pioneer goal by the newly inserted Palmquist led to an unassisted goal by New Mexico’s Miguel Maynez, Jr..

New Mexico’s off field drama was fueled Wednesday when the New Mexico state’s Attorney  General, Hector Balderas, ruled that the UNM Board of Regents violated the Open Meetings Act when they decided earlier this summer to cut four athletic programs in July. The Regents were ordered to hold another meeting within 15 days to correct the violation.

Several Democratic lawmakers have promised to look for ways to save the sports programs on the chopping block. They contend that the University never solicited financial help from the legislature or included them in cost-cutting decisions.

“I am fully confident that the state of New Mexico will play Division I soccer in 2019 and beyond” said ‘Moe’ Maestas D-Representative to the Albuquerque Journal, “because, as New Mexicans, we are committed to solving problems. We have to shed the psychology that we can’t do these things.”

UNM Athletics has been hemorrhaging cash, operating at a deficit in nine of the last eleven years. The shortfalls forced the Regents to call for a reduction in sports spending of $1.9 million by 2019.

Online petitions, alumni letters, and public calls for permanent funding solutions have been made since the July announcement.

DU would be most impacted by UNM’s elimination of men’s soccer and skiing. The Lobos have been great regional opponents over the years for the Pioneers.

DU men’s soccer faces Monmouth on Friday, August 24th at CIBER Field to begin the regular season.