Posted by Adam Jacobi
New Mexico head coach Mike Locksley's time atop the Lobo program has been marred by controversy pretty much from the word go, but an incident Saturday evening might be the most embarrassing yet. According to Tempe police, 19-year-old Josh Butts of Chicago was arrested for aggravated DWI and other sundry charges after being pulled over near UNM's Memorial Stadium near game time. The kicker: Butts was driving a car registered to Locksley.
Police said they pulled the vehicle over because it almost hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Butts showed signs of impairment and stumbled when he got out of the vehicle.
According to the police report, he told police he was brought from Chicago to play football and that he was on his way to the game in, “coaches car.”
Three other minors were in the SUV at the time and all showed signs of impairment.
Butts faces charges of aggravated DWI, minor in possession of alcohol, reckless driving and no driver’s license.
Locksley and UNM have refused comment thus far, according to the report, though KOB cites an UNM source who says Butts has nothing to do with the football program. With any luck, the lack of statement will be remedied soon, because everyone from the UNM community to the NCAA is probably dying to know how and why this 19-year-old came into possession of Mike Locksley's car after about ten too many drinks, as Butts blew a .16. And remember, Butts is under 21; in the eyes of the law, he's not supposed to be drinking at all before driving.
The worst-case scenario for Locksley is that Butts is telling the truth all the way here; if a head football coach did seriously let a minor recruit get legally drunk, then did give that recruit his personal car to drive to a game, then he's probably got to be fired within a matter of hours, if not minutes. It's a violation of NCAA rules and an even worse lapse in judgment, and it's hard to decide which aspect is more damaging to the UNM program.
If, however, there are inconsistencies between Butts' version of the truth and Locksley's version, as appears to be UNM's initial reaction, now would be a good time to let those be known. Short of an impending charge of grand theft auto against Butts, though, it's hard to see how Locksley survives this incident.
Perhaps it's a good thing Butts missed Saturday's game, though; UNM would end up losing to FCS school Sam Houston State, 48-45.