New Mexico politician demands more in-state student-athletes
<p>Republican Representative Jimmie Hall of Albuquerque, N.M. has proposed a bill that would require state universities to have at least 50 percent of their scholarship student-athletes hail from New Mexico. Representative Hall justified his bill to the Albuquerque Journal with one example and generalizations:
“I got concerned when I started hearing about New Mexico youth that were walking on to basketball, football, soccer, cross-country, volleyball, both boys and girls. … A classic example is Logan. I believe last year they went undefeated, and their quarterback had to walk-on at Eastern (New Mexico University) before he got offered a scholarship. … Then there are young ladies, and they’re pretty good athletes in my opinion, of course I’m not a coach, but they’re on a state-winning team, and they’re not even considered (for scholarships).”
Although he sounds uniformed and out-of-touch, Representative Hall’s bill is not as ridiculous as it seems, especially for New Mexicans. In 1981, then Governor Bruce King signed a bill forcing New Mexico colleges to have a minimum of one-quarter of all scholarship players to be from in state.
Despite the earlier precedent, this latest bill is unpopular and unlikely to be passed. Most New Mexicans acknowledge that these scholarships restrictions, coupled with a state population of just over 2 million people, would not allow in-state colleges to be competitive in sports. It’s clear New Mexico could not compete at the Division I level with so many in-state players; however, are there states that could field a winning team?
New Mexico wants local student-athletes, just like Texas, California and Florida
Former Miami head football coach Howard Schnellenberger put the football program on the map by building a metaphorical “fence around South Florida” and signing the best local players.
This same strategy could be used by schools in very talent-rich states, where entire rosters could be filled with in-state student-athletes, but there’s not that many of them. Other than Texas, California, Florida and maybe a few more states, there is not enough talent to support a full team.
Bad athletic director, good politician
Representative Hall’s bill would limit the New Mexico’s state universities ability to compete in sports, but it would surely save taxpayers money. College tuition at public colleges is cheaper for in-state students than out-of-state students. By increasing the number of in-state scholarship student-athletes, Representative Hall’s bill could lower tuition costs and reduce the overall cost of scholarships.