ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A state judge should toss out a University of New Mexico decision to eliminate four sports over allegations the school violated the state's open meetings law, according to a complaint filed Friday by an Albuquerque lawyer.
Attorney Maria Touchet filed a complaint in state district court, the latest in a saga surrounding the university's decision, and accuses the school's board of regents of disregarding open meetings laws when it voted in July to cut men's soccer, men's and women's skiing and women's beach volleyball.
"(University of New Mexico) violated the Open Meetings Act by not providing an agenda 72 hours before the July 19 meeting that gave adequate and reasonable notice to the public that it intended to discuss and vote on the elimination and reduction of specific teams," the complaint said.
That made the board's vote unconstitutional, court documents said. Touchet is seeking to have the vote voided.
University of New Mexico spokeswoman Cinnamon Blair did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press.
The complaint comes a day after New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas warned the University of New Mexico he would sue the school for violating the state's open meetings law during the sports elimination vote.
On Friday, the attorney general said he supported the complaint.
"We stand behind today's court filings, and continue to call on the UNM Board of Regents to comply with transparency laws," said Balderas in a statement. "The board is not above the law, and we will utilize all legal options to ensure timely compliance with the Open Meetings Act."
The regents voted unanimously July 19 to eliminate the four sports, cut diving from the women's swimming and diving program and dramatically reduce the men's track and field roster.
The vote came after the board heard hours of testimony from coaches, players, alumni and community members about the importance of the programs. Some people in the crowd responded with boos and heckles.
Men's soccer has perhaps the highest profile nationally of Lobos men's sports teams. Men's soccer has twice reached the NCAA Final Four and the championship game once.
With the vote, the programs will be discontinued as of July 1, 2019. University officials say they will honor the scholarships of the affected student-athletes through their graduation.