ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A University of New Mexico regent is recommending erasing the athletics department's $4.7 million debt to the university.

The Board of Regents President Rob Doughty's suggestion comes as the university is formulating a plan for how the department will pay down its debt.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the department has been overspending for eight of the past 10 years leading the university to use its reserves to cover for its shortfalls.

The university budget office staff presented one possible repayment plan this week that would require the department to make $350,000 annual payments on its deficit.

Doughty says such a plan would be counterproductive, since he believes it could hurt the university when it tries to balance its budget.

More options are expected to come next month.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com