Saturday: Hawaii (4-3, 1-2 MW) at New Mexico (2-5, 0-3)
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Dreamstyle Stadium
Radio: KKOB 94.5 FM, 770AM
Line: Hawaii favored by 10 (vegasinsider.com)
By Greg Archuleta
Enchantment Sports Assistant Editor
I just look again at how hard Sheriron plays and how much effort he gives. Nobody’s pulling for Sheriron more than I am to eliminate the mistakes, and I think our football team would be unanimous with that. It’s hard when a guy plays as hard as he plays. I’m going to keep giving him opportunities. …
— University of New Mexico football coach Bob Davie, on senior quarterback Sheriron Jones, during Davie’s postgame news conference on Oct. 11 following UNM’s 35-21 loss to Colorado State
When a public figure says he’s not going to comment further on a situation, it’s a safe bet that someone will investigate further on that situation.
So when University of New Mexico football coach Bob Davie started his weekly news conference Tuesday by saying senior quarterback Sheriron Jones had been suspended indefinitely and declined further comment, the local media went to work to find out more about the suspension.
Credit KRQE TV, which on Wednesday uncovered a UNM police report citing an accusation against the 23-year-old of indecent exposure at a campus garage last Friday.
His accuser said she was in her car, signing a card for a friend, when a “white colored sedan” passed by her car “four to six times, each time at a very slow speed,” in the Cornell parking structure starting at 10:34 a.m., according to the report.
She then said she recognized the driver as Jones — the report said the accuser was “one hundred percent positive” it was him, and when she got out and approached the vehicle after a brief verbal exchange, she indicated he was masturbating.
What is most damning about the police report is that when the UNM officer reviewed video of the time period in which the accuser said the alleged sexual assault took place, he was able to identify the license plate of the vehicle — a 2015 white Nissan Altima — the suspect was in, and it does belong to Jones.
The victim says she had never met Jones prior to the allegation, and she never identified the make or model of the suspect’s car. And while the police report indicated it could not confirm the allegation of the sexual assault or the identification of the suspect, the video did corroborate the events that the accuser reported.
The report also indicates that while it was a “tall African-American male, wearing red colored pants and a gray colored shirt that had some type of logo on the left breast of the shirt” who exited the Nissan at 10:44 a.m., a female got into the Nissan at 12:18 p.m., and drove it out of the garage.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Jones must appear at Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court to enter a plea on Nov. 7 as the result of a criminal complaint.
“I talked to him on Monday when I was first made aware of the charges and communicated to him that he was suspended,” the Journal reported Davie as saying after practice Wednesday. “Obviously, it was a very serious accusation. Because of that, he’s indefinitely suspended from the team. The proper protocol has been followed. The people that make those investigations and make those decisions, it’s in their hands now.”
The UNM report indicated that the accuser called UNM police at 11:10 a.m., but went to the campus police station at 3 p.m. and finished at about 4:20 p.m., at which time she provided the details about the allegation. The Lobos had a chartered flight for Laramie, Wyo. scheduled to leave at 3:30 p.m., for their Saturday game with Wyoming.
The UNM officer who filed the report on Saturday, said he was unable to contact Jones because of the team’s travel to Laramie.
Davie has been effusive in his praise of Jones’ work ethic on the field this season. If the allegations are true, it is another blow to the embattled Davie and the Lobo football program.
The allegation comes almost a year after then-Lobo senior linebacker Evahelotu Tohi put a teammate in the hospital after a fight at a party on Oct. 27, 2018. The team had returned home after a 62-19 loss at Utah State earlier that day.
Davie learned about the incident the following day but let Tohi practice two days before eventually suspending him after a KOB-TV report uncovered the incident.
The Lobos (2-5, 0-3 in the Mountain West) are mired in a four-game losing streak as they prepare to take on Hawaii (4-3, 1-2) at Dreamstyle Stadium on Saturday.
Davie, who guided the team to a 9-4 record and a New Mexico Bowl victory in 2016, is now on the hot seat because of the team’s 8-23 record since that season. Earlier this year, senior starting safety Patrick Peek decided to redshirt this season — an unusual move for a starting player in his senior season.
Quarterback Tevaka Tuioti also declined to warm up during an Oct. 11 game against Colorado State, saying he thought Jones deserved the chance to finish the game. It’s another unusual move that raises questions about Davie’s command of the program.
Tuioti will start against Hawaii, and redshirt freshman Trae Hall will serve as his backup. Those are the only two scholarship quarterbacks left on the UNM roster. Junior college transfer Brandt Hughes suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the first half of the Lobos’ 2019 opener against Sam Houston State.
Assistant Sports Editor Greg Archuleta was the New Mexico Lobo football beat writer for the Albuquerque Journal for 12 years and worked as a professional journalist for more than two decades. Look for Greg’s “Koz and Effect” columns throughout the football season. Koz? You can as him why, or reach him with any other tidbits, tips or inquiries at enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.