By Christina Calloway
Nearly half of Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball team was arrested Friday afternoon on charges of disorderly conduct stemming from a fight that took place last week in a campus parking lot, according to school and law enforcement officials.
Roosevelt County Detention Center Administrator David Casanova confirmed that at least 16 ENMU athletes were waiting to be booked into the county jail around 4:30 p.m. Friday.
There are 37 active players listed on a roster on ENMU’s website.
Despite the suspensions, the Greyhounds kept their hopes alive for a berth in next week’s Lone Star Conference baseball tournament with a come-from-behind, 7-6 win over Angelo State in 10 innings on Friday night at Greyhound Field.
The Hounds (25-23, 14-19 LSC) are tied for fourth place with ASU in the six-team conference, and must sweep today’s 1 p.m. doubleheader to qualify.
The top four teams make the tournament.
ENMU President Steve Gamble said he was told by arresting officers that the athletes were part of the school’s baseball team, but said he didn’t have many details about the incident that led to their arrests.
ENMU Police Chief Brad Mauldin said the case is active and declined to comment.
Gamble said he was told the athletes were involved in a physical altercation that took place last weekend, either Friday or Saturday, and it possibly happened at night in a parking lot the university shares with San Juan Village, which is a housing unit for students.
Portales Police Chief Pat Gallegos said though he was not there during the arrests, his officers did assist in the transportation of the arrested ballplayers.
Gamble said he was told there were no serious injuries were reported from the altercation. He said non-athletes were involved but could not confirm if any other ENMU students were arrested.
“All I heard was they were going to arrest baseball players,” he said.
ENMU Athletic Director Jeff Geiser said Friday it was obvious they were missing a few players at the Angelo State game, marking the beginning of the series.
“They’re missed right now, it’s 6-3, bottom of the eighth and San Angelo is ahead,” Geiser said from the game.
Geiser said if the missing players were to return today, they will be allowed to play as the issue is settled.
“Bottom line is all of our student athletes are expected to abide by the law and if they break the law, they should be punished,” Geiser said.
But he made it clear that he was not admitting any fault and that the investigation remained open as of Friday.
Gamble said he does not know what disciplinary action will be taken upon the athletes on the school’s part because the people who handle school discipline also do not have any details about the incident as of Friday evening.
“I don’t know the severity of much of what happened,” Gamble said.