The University of New Mexico has responded to the findings detailed in the newly-released report by the New Mexico Office of the State Auditor (OSA). The special audit concentrating on UNM’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics identified areas needing improvement in the university’s internal controls and financial accountability. In its response, UNM outlined its intentions for implementation of the recommendations.
Since entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the OSA on June 28, 2017, UNM administration has cooperated with the state auditor’s staff to swiftly address identified issues and provide written responses detailing corrective actions taken by the university. Specifically, the athletics department has already begun implementing a number of changes in its business models and will continue to modify or make additional improvements recommended in the final audit report.
“We have examined and responded to the findings of the report,” said Interim President Chaouki Abdallah, “We know that our new Athletic Director, Eddie Nuñez, is already in the middle of his own evaluation of the department and intends to use both to develop not just minimum standards but best practices.”
As UNM enters a new era in Lobo athletics with the hiring of Nuñez, the announcement of Garnett S. Stokes as incoming president, and the completion of the OSA special audit, the university is updating, refining and expanding its commitment to following best practices in management, compliance and ethics within the athletics department.
"I was made aware of the OSA review shortly after I took the job and welcomed it as an important first step in exploring past processes at UNM, and in developing an outline for establishing not just minimum standards for UNM athletics, but best practices,” said Nuñez. “While some of the criticisms were uncomfortable to read, the audit and recommendations for changes couldn't come at a better time.”
“As regents, we feel it is our responsibility to set the highest standards within athletics to ensure the best experience for our student-athletes and Lobo fans,” said Board of Regents President Rob Doughty. “We believe these updated guidelines will provide more transparency, better accountability and enhanced business operations that will benefit the whole university.”
With the release of the OSA report, the university has also issued a response to the auditor’s findings, outlining changes either already adopted or in progress. These measures detail broad management revisions, such as increased Board of Regents’ oversight, better reporting structures and benchmarking of improvements, as well as specific business practice updates in accounting procedures, fundraising activities and ticket distribution.
“We have already identified a number of ways to clear up inconsistencies and create processes that will be more effective and efficient,” said Executive Vice President for Administration David Harris. “These changes range from large to small. We’re making improvements from top to bottom.”