Lobos making decision about Locksley

Updated: October 12, 2009, 8:16 PM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

New Mexico officials planned a news conference for Tuesday to announce whether Lobos football coach Mike Locksley will be suspended or fired for allegedly striking an assistant coach, a person familiar with the investigation said Sunday night.

[+] EnlargeMike Locksley
AP Photo/Dave EinselMike Locksley, one of only six African-American coaches at Football Bowl Subdivision schools, is still seeking his first victory at New Mexico.

Locksley, who is 0-6 in his first season at New Mexico, allegedly struck wide receivers coach J.B. Gerald during a staff meeting Sept. 20. Gerald told Albuquerque police that Locksley busted his lip.

New Mexico athletics director Paul Krebs initially issued verbal and written reprimands to Locksley for his role in the altercation. Locksley told reporters last month that he could have handled the situation better and apologized to Gerald.

But the school's Human Resources Division launched a probe last month to determine whether Locksley's actions constituted additional discipline. Under school policies, employees face progressive discipline for violent behavior. The policies also state some actions "may be of such serious nature that immediate suspension or discharge may be appropriate."

A person familiar with the investigation said human resources officials interviewed New Mexico's other assistant coaches about the incident last week.

Locksley, one of only six African-American coaches at Football Bowl Subdivision schools, is still seeking his first victory at New Mexico. The Lobos are off to their worst start since 1987 after losing at Wyoming 37-13 on Saturday. They have a 10-game losing streak dating back to last season, including a loss to rival New Mexico State for the first time since 2002.

On Monday, the school announced that Locksley has resolved "all legal claims" involving a former football administrative assistant, although details were scarce in a statement issued by the university.

According to a plaintiff's attorney, Locksley told Sylvia Lopez she was too old to be attractive to recruits, prompting the 25-year university employee to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the coach in April.

It alleged age discrimination, retaliation and, according to comments attributed to Lopez's attorney, Whitney Warner, sexual harassment.

The statement, issued late Monday, indicated it was "unfortunate the label of sexual harassment was used in this case because it never fit" Lopez's circumstances.

Mark Schlabach covers college football and men's college basketball for ESPN.com. You can contact him at schlabachma@yahoo.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Mark Schlabach | email

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