Fall sports await go-ahead from governor as COVID-19 cases increase

Three high school sports in New Mexico are slated to begin practice on Monday, but an uptick in COVID-19 cases throughout the state has at least one sport with more cause for concern.

Volleyball was listed as a medium risk sport by the New Mexico Activities Association as area teams have been able to practice in small groups this week. Full practice was set to begin on Monday across the state with the first competitions set for next weekend with Mayfield opening the season for Las Cruces Public Schools, traveling to Roswell-Goddard on Oct. 12.

In a call with volleyball coaches on Friday, NMAA director Sally Marquez informed coaches that their sport was currently in a holding pattern.

“I just told them to remain positive,” Marquez said.

“I’m in constant communication with the (Public Education Department) and the governor’s office. Decisions are made based on COVID cases at that time so it’s difficult to make decisions even a month in advance. I follow it closely and it is a concern when cases go up. It’s not just about sports getting going, but about kids getting into school. It concerns me because kids need to be in school.”

As of Friday morning, the NMAA had not received final approval for volleyball, cross country or fall golf tournaments, but the fact that volleyball is an indoor sport seemed to be a sticking point.

“I understand that the NMAA independently put forward fall schedules, but any such activities are always dependent on the public health conditions in the state,” wrote Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s press secretary, Nora Meyers Sackett, in an email to the Sun-News on Friday. “The state will continue to evaluate the data and make evidence-based decisions in the best interest of the health and safety of all New Mexicans, including student athletes, and the governor’s office continues to be in communication with the NMAA on the issue.”

Read the full story here.

Source: Las Cruces Sun News, Jason Groves

Photo by Matt Aylward on Unsplash

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