NM: MOTIONS HEARD TODAY BEFORE CIVIL LAWSUIT TRIAL AGAINST NMSU FOOTBALL COACH HAL MUMME
A federal judge will hear motions today in what may be the final hearing before a civil lawsuit alleging religious discrimination against New Mexico State University head football coach Hal Mumme goes to trial.
The trial is scheduled for June 25. The lawsuit was brought by four former players who allege Mumme discriminated against them and pushed them off the team because they are Muslim.
Players Mu'Ammar Ali, Anthony and Vincent Thompson and Jacob Wallace claim Mumme's attitude toward them changed when he found out they were Muslim.
The original complaint was filed in August 2006, alleging Mumme became aware that Ali was Muslim during spring practice in 2005 when he initiated a routine of having players lead the Lord's Prayer after each practice. Three of the players Ali and the Thompson twins were seen praying off to the side of the team, reciting passages from the Quran. Wallace was later added as a plaintiff, also alleging an environment actively hostile toward his religion.
Mumme and the university have denied the allegations, saying the players' dismissals was because of their on-field performance and their attitudes.