(The Center Square) – A pair of former New Mexico State basketball players and a student manager filed a lawsuit this week alleging that their teammates often brought guns into the locker room, where they committed sexual assaults against players.
The lawsuit alleges that the players did this to keep everyone on the team “humble,” according to KTSM.
Kyle Feit, plus another former teammate and student manager who chose not to be named, filed the lawsuit in district court in Las Cruces, New Mexico, against NSMUl; the school’s athletic director, Mario Moccia; plus former coaches and players. The coaches were fired or left after last season, while Moccia got a contract extension and a raise.
The trio filed the lawsuit on the date of the NMSU season opener against Kentucky.
Feit decided to make his name public because “his interest in speaking out and holding all of the defendants accountable outweighs his desire to protect his personal privacy interests,” the lawsuit said.
Some allegations the players made, including those about sexual assault, were similar to ones in a lawsuit NMSU settled earlier in the year. NMSU settled the $8 million lawsuit with former players Shak Odunewu and Deuce Benjamin, plus Benjamin’s father.
The lawsuit filed this week also said that guns were regularly present in the locker room, on campus, and team trips. Feit alleged that he had guns pointed at him from inside car windows three times while walking on campus.
NMSU bans guns on campus. However, enforcement of the rule faced more scrutiny after former men’s basketball player Mike Peake killed a University of New Mexico student when the team was on a road trip. He was found not guilty, and the court said he acted in self-defense.
After the Peake shooting, “the presence of guns [within the team] became even more real and menacing. [Feit] knew his teammates were in fear of retribution for the shooting, and the atmosphere was very tense,” the lawsuit said.
Feit was close to quitting the team before the team’s season was canceled in February 2023
Feit received a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis while at New Mexico State, according to the lawsuit. He left the campus and signed with a professional team in Israel but is back in the United States now due to Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas.
“His PTSD was triggered by the war in Israel, resulting in him living in constant fear and worsening his condition,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit comes less than a week after it was revealed that these same three people were named in a lawsuit that found the school responsible for sexual misconduct following a Title IX investigation led by the school.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that the investigation found that players would force their teammates to pull their pants down and expose their genitals as a way to keep them “humble.” Sometimes, players would grab the victims’ genitals.
The three plaintiffs allege similar things happened to them.
“It became difficult for Kyle Feit to focus on basketball, and he felt like he was losing his love for the sport,” the lawsuit said. “Going to the gym had always been a safe and positive place, and it was no longer. His game suffered, as did his well-being.”