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New Mexico Activities Association will allow athletes with Fs to play fall sports

Matthew Asher, Carlsbad Current-Argus

The New Mexico Activities Association said student-athletes would be allowed to participate in fall sports — even if they're failing academically.

The NMAA Board of Directors held an emergency meeting Thursday night to discuss eligibility and participation for the fall semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez proposed "on an emergency and temporary basis" to allow students, whose academic records contain any Fs, to remain eligible for sports.

The proposal was approved, but not unanimously. And under the proposal, schools and districts could choose not to implement it, and instead enact individual rules.

In August, Marquez said the NMAA would not look at the spring 2020 grades to determine eligibility and would give all student-athletes a clean slate to start the year. Each student-athlete must maintain a 2.0 GPA without any Fs during the 2020-2021 school year.

NMAA Logo

Albuquerque and Los Lunas Public Schools primarily have a six-week grading period for school quarters.

The first six weeks of school will come to an end the same time as the start of fall sports practices. Official practices are scheduled to begin on Oct. 5.

Most districts outside of Albuquerque and Los Lunas Public Schools have nine-week grading periods.

The New Mexico High School Coaches Association stated in a press release on Wednesday that 36 percent of all New Mexico student-athletes – 24 percent of all females and 24 percent of all males – have at least one F. Eighty-six schools and 215 coaches were polled.

Regardless of which eligibility format schools choose, school districts still await Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's approval to initiate three fall sports: golf, cross country and volleyball.

Games, meets and matches are scheduled to begin as early as Oct. 10.

Matthew Asher covers sports for the Carlsbad Current-Argus. He can be reached at 575-628-5524, masher@currentargus.com or @Caveman_Masher on Twitter.

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