Notes released by the University of New Mexico late Friday confirmed football coach Mike Locksley took a swing at receivers coach J.B. Gerald, an apparent contradiction of what the school has said publicly about the altercation.
However, a top administrator reaffirmed the school’s conclusion after an internal investigation that no witnesses could corroborate Gerald’s claims that he was struck.
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Gerald claims Locksley hit him, splitting his lip.
Locksley maintains he did not throw a punch. A New Mexico athletic department spokesman said Locksley was with the Lobos in California as the team prepared for Saturday’s game at San Diego State and wasn’t available for comment.
The university also released photographs of Gerald, including pictures showing a cut on his lip, what appeared to be a bruise on his neck and a cut or scrape on his arm.
According to handwritten notes from an athletic department investigation into the Sept. 20 incident, offensive line coach Mike Degory restrained Locksley as the head coach grabbed Gerald’s throat and choked him. Degory says Locksley “was still swinging at Gerald.”
Helen Gonzales, the university’s vice president for human resources, emphasized that those notes did not come from her official investigation, which led to Locksley’s 10-day suspension this month, and that school officials could not confirm what Gerald told Albuquerque police.
In handing down the penalty Oct. 13, athletic director Paul Krebs said investigators had interviewed the offensive staff and couldn’t confirm that a punch was thrown during their meeting.
“When I conducted my interviews, the question I pursued was, ‘Did anybody see coach Gerald punched in the mouth? No one who was in the room could confirm it,” Gonzales explained.
Locksley has said he put his hands on Gerald and described the incident as “a heated argument with some grabbing, pushing and shoving.”
Asked if the definition of “punch” might depend on whether Locksley connected a blow, Gonzales replied: “It’s a good question. Really, what we had to go by is what Coach Gerald alleged. He alleged he was punched in the mouth.”
Gerald has left the team, although he remains on paid administrative leave.