I will say this about college sports. There are loopholes in the grading system. I'm no expert on the loopholes. It wouldn't hurt me to become more adept at such things but it is what it is. And they do exist.
Now I will say, obviously the student athlete is the one responsible for getting to class, doing homework and getting the job done. But to think that a coach doesn't guide the athlete through the process is wrong.
From my understanding, Justin Hawkins always struggled with grades. He did last year and the year before that. But in the end, the staff found a way to get him through it and made sure he was eligible. Same with other players. For many players, the sport comes easy. Staying eligible is the hard part. And a lot of that falls on the player's support staff.
I don't know everything going on with the current situation at NMSU. But one must ask, why is the team's best player (Hawkins) stuggling with this? Why is another solid player (Passos) struggling with this? I'm no coach, but if I were, I would make sure that my two key players were in line and ready to roll. And that goes in all facets of life. Being a college basketball coach goes beyond the basketball court. That's what they sign up for. The good ones at least.