New Mexico State administrators believe they did their due diligence prior to signing football player Ray Buford Jr. this week. Buford, a cornerback transfer from Independence Community College with two years of eligibility remaining, was involved in an alleged sexual assault case that garnered national headlines at the time, during his redshirt freshman season at the University of Minnesota in 2016. Buford was never charged or arrested after two separate investigations by local authorities, but he was initially suspended and later recommended for expulsion after an additional investigation by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at the University on Minnesota. Buford, who played in seven games for Minnesota in 2016, enrolled for the spring semester at NMSU and has been working out with the Aggies and is expected to participate in spring practice later this month. Signing Buford during the signing period was the end result of a process that included New Mexico State's Office of Institutional Equity to become involved, as well. "Sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment is front and center right now everywhere," said Lauri Millot, Executive Director and Title IX Coordinator at New Mexico State. "NMSU's obligation is to protect our campus community, students and our staff and do it in a way that incorporates prevention, education and an appropriate response so we don't put students or staff in a hostile environment." It is unclear if Buford appealed his expulsion at Minnesota prior to transferring to Independence and completing his Associates Degree, but according to NMSU transfer admission requirements, a prospective student "Must be eligible to return to your last college or university" in order to be admitted.
New Mexico State defends signing of ex-Minnesota player accused of sexual assault
Las Cruces Sun-News | Feb 12