Report: NMSU men's hoops shutdown sparked by hazing allegations within program

New Mexico State men's basketball has canceled Saturday's game at Cal Baptist and suspended its season indefinitely following "new allegations" within the program, according to a statement from the school.

The new allegations involve multiple players being allegedly investigated for their role in hazing attacks on a teammate on more than one occasion, Stadium reported.

The school said in the statement that the new allegations have prompted an investigation by the university and led to the coaching staff being put on paid administrative leave.

The Aggies have been embroiled in controversy since November, when forward Mike Peake shot and killed a New Mexico student in Albuquerque in what police called a self-defense case after Peake had been lured to the campus. Per the school's statement, Friday's decision to suspend the season is separate from that case.

"New Mexico State University is suspending operations for the men's basketball program until further notice," the school's statement said Friday. "NMSU personnel were recently informed of new allegations, separate from the events that took place in Albuquerque late last year, involving potential violations of university policy. While those allegations are being investigated, the men's basketball coaching staff has been placed on paid administrative leave. The game scheduled for February 11 against California Baptist will not be played."

NMSU is just 9-15 in Greg Heiar's first season.

"The New Mexico State University Board of Regents were informed this evening of the suspension of operations for the men's basketball program," the NMSU Board of Regents said in a statement. "The board supports the action taken by the university leaders and is confident a full and thorough investigation will be conducted."

The Aggies had previously canceled the game against the Lobos in Albuquerque that had been scheduled for the day after the shooting, along with the Dec. 3 rematch in Las Cruces.

The WAC, which may have to consider scheduling adjustments as a result of the NMSU shutdown, also issued a statement Friday: "The WAC is continuing to monitor the situation at New Mexico State and at this time has no additional comment."

After the Peake incident, multiple NMSU staffers took possession of Peake's gun and other potential evidence that was later recovered by New Mexico State police. Heiar, fearing retaliation for the shooting, left town without having three NMSU players, who'd picked Peake up after the shooting and transported him to the hospital, talk to police. Their bus was stopped on a highway as it traveled back to Las Cruces.

Lorenzo Jenkins, who serves as a special assistant to Heiar, had Peake's tablet in a backpack. An unnamed New Mexico State administrator had his phone, state police said. The gun used in the shooting was located at the team hotel in Albuquerque, where assistant coach Dominique Taylor had it wrapped in a towel after Heiar called him and told him that NMSU players Marchelus Avery, Issa Muhammad and Anthony Roy could tell him where to find the weapon.

It's unclear how and where the items were transported after the shooting.

The school and the Albuquerque district attorney have both launched separate investigations into the incident and the actions of staffers, coaches and players after the shooting.

ESPN's attempts to gather personnel files on coaches and staffers at NMSU have been repeatedly delayed by the school in recent months. A lawyer with the school said it would respond by Feb. 6 to the request, but the school did not release the personnel files. The school's original investigation after the Peake shooting and aftermath was "ongoing" as of late January, per Justin Bannister, NMSU associate vice president of communications.

The Aggies have won seven WAC titles and made eight appearances in March Madness since 2007. They are supposed to move into Conference USA next year. But this year, they have struggled to a 9-15 record -- including 10 losses in their last 12 games -- under Heiar, who took over for Chris Jans when he left for Mississippi State. Jans went 122-32 in five seasons and took the Aggies to three tournaments.

Leadership at the school is also in flux. The board of regents recently decided not to renew the contract of Chancellor Dan Arvizu, which expires in June. Over the past 14 months, both the school's president and provost have resigned or been removed from their positions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.