A New Mexico school faces the prospect of forfeiting its hard fought 2016-17 state basketball title after a newspaper story revealed that a star player has spent the prior two and a half years living with his assistant coach.
As reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican, the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) is investigating the relationship between Pecos senior player Carlos Cordova and assistant coach Dominick Baca. A prior New Mexican story determined that the pair have lived in the same residence — albeit in two different housing units — for more than two years.
The twist in this case is that it isn’t the coach putting up the player, it’s the player’s family making housing available for the coach and then allowing their son to live there.
The full backstory is much more involved, and lends significant credence to the belief of Pecos Independent Schools Superintendent Fred Trujillo that the school will be cleared when all is said and done.
“This decision, as far as with Dominick and Carlos, it was part of an individual helping another individual,” Trujillo told the New Mexican. “Both helped each other get through some tough times in their life.
“I know people initially were thinking about the state championship and the recent success we’ve had. The success of the program is not the main focus for us right now. That’s a decision the NMAA will make. I feel confident that we will do our part in cooperating with the NMAA and we will see a positive decision on the 12th.”
The loss of the state title would be more than just an academic matter for a town with fierce pride for its scholastic athletic programs and a passion for basketball. The school’s title from the 2016-17 season was the first at Pecos in 50 years.
There has been no timetable for a final decision in the case from the NMAA. In the meantime, Cordova is being held out of competition to ensure that none of the team’s forthcoming contests are jeopardized by his involvement.