NMAA tables discussion on condensed 2020-2021 sports calendar until next Monday

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The New Mexico Activities Association Board of Directors announced Wednesday it needs a bit more time to finalize the latest version of the 2020-2021 sports calendar, noting multiple sticking points.

The NMAA will reconvene next Monday to discuss the football schedule format — whether it'll be just be four regular-season games plus the state championship game between the the top-two seeds, or five regular-season games and no championship games. 

NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez said other topics that need further discussion include whether students who chose to stay in remote learning will be allowed to compete in sports this season.

Marquez said the NMAA will also explore options such as using The Pit in Albuquerque for state basketball championship games only and playing the first round, quarterfinal and semifinal games at host schools to help limit gatherings.

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Other scenarios mentioned include the state track and field championships being spread out to one classification per day (ie, Class 4A teams one day, Class 5A teams the next day) to limit the number of schools gathering at the meet.

Marquez also said University of New Mexico athletic director Eddie Nunez offered to have UNM host state football championship games to limit travel and give teams a neutral playing site.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave districts the OK to reopen schools for in-person learning on Feb. 8. The Public Education Department informed the NMAA that high school athletics can start on Feb. 22, but only if districts are in a hybrid learning model and do not have a significant increase in COVID-19 cases between Feb. 8 and Feb. 22.

Out-of-state eligibility

The NMAA Board of Directors also voted 11-1 to allow student-athletes who played a particular sport out of state this year to compete in another sport in New Mexico this year.

In other words, one who played football out of state this year can play baseball in New Mexico this year. However, Marquez said, one who played football this year would have to wait until the 2021-2022 season to play football because of NMAA transfer guidelines.

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Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, Hollinshead@daily-times.com and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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