Friday, July 11, 2008

Alford Says Party On, But No Photos, Please; Hoops Whiz Baptized In The Treacherous Waters Of La Politica; We Wrap The Week 

The party will go on, but without the $1,000 pics. That was the word Thursday as University of New Mexico basketball coach Steve Alford, hoping to put behind him his baptism in the state's perfidious political waters, announced he will still attend a July 16th fundraiser for ABQ GOP congressional candidate Darren White, but will not permit pictures of him to be taken with partygoers and sold for a thousand a pop. The money was to have gone to White's campaign kitty.

Announcing the news on 770 KKOB-AM, sportsmeister Scott Stiegler said Alford described himself "as a man of his word" and said despite the hyper-controversy over his role at the party, he will still attend White's "An evening with Coach Steve Alford " scheduled for the home of UNM lobbyist Joe Thompson. The party is being co-hosted by UNM regents Jack Fortner and Don Chalmers.

After several days of white-hot debate, (yeah, that's a pun) Alford told the state it is his policy not to charge fans for autographs or photos, and that he does not endorse political candidates. That would seem to rule out future fundraising events involving the coach, who said he was duped into agreeing to appear at the White party because it was "falsely advertised."

UNM athletic boss Paul Krebs says there will be guidelines drafted for employee politicking. That should make for interesting half-time reading. Give a couple of copies to the Lobo Club, Paul. They seem very interested.

White took a hit for his role in the controversy because it appeared his campaign was reeling the coach in without telling him the whole story, but it was not partisan politics aimed at Darren; it was and is about the role of politics--D or R--at UNM. But we've already said that and more this week. (Head Lobo junkie Rick Wright is on the same page, opining here.)

Alford, who must have heard of New Mexico's reputation for "all-politics-all-the-time" before heading here, has now had his political virginity taken. Welcome to the club, Steve. You really aren't in Iowa anymore.

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