New Mexico State's “wonderful” and “insightful” President and Chancellor Gary Carruthers thought it would be a good idea to go on air and say that if the Aggies were to win six football games this year, they may have to decline an invitation due to the bowl’s location.
Speaking to El Paso’s KTSM, Carruthers said “If you stick us too far out east, then it becomes a financial issue with our fans. If you are obligated to buy X number of tickets and we can’t sell them to our fans, then it would be a costly enterprise.”
Basically Carruthers is saying that if the Aggies don’t get invited to the New Mexico or Arizona Home Loans Bowl, then it would be financially irresponsible and impossible for the University to make money.
What makes it worse is that the NM Bowl Executive Director has all but said that NMSU can’t get invited to the NM Bowl due to conference ties.
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News interviewed the Board of Regents Chair Debra Hicks on Friday in hopes to clarify the statements made by the president.
Hicks completely backtracked on the comments saying:
"We are aggressively and positively supporting (head coach Doug Martin) and his endeavors in the football program as well as all of the athletic programs that we have. As far as costs, we would take a look at it and we have asked the athletic directors to come and let us know what we would be looking at but the bid in itself, we would be delighted to have that and we are definitely interested in playing in one after a very dry period of time"
The university itself gave a pretty political answer, saying the Aggies haven’t won six games yet and so there hasn’t been any discussion about a bowl. However they did say they would work with the Sun Belt Conference on getting into a good location.
Unfortunately, the damage has already been done.
With the new early signing period about a month away, other programs are using Carruthers’ comments against the program, trying to poach away some really great recruits.
Hicks did admit that the comments were made at an “inopportune time” but that doesn’t take back what was said.
What does this mean for the Aggies program? Nothing yet.
We’ll see if the team reaches six wins. But it does completely derail the recruiting progress made by Martin and has me worried about the players' motivation, knowing that their own school might not let them break the program’s worst streak, should they win six.
Only time will tell.