The New Mexico Activities Association Board of Directors adopted a new sports calendar at its special meeting this morning that will allow for schools to return to athletics and activities on February 22nd. Schools must still adhere to various requirements set forth by the Public Education Department and Governor’s Office in order to move forward with full participation in NMAA sanctioned competitions.
The NMAA will begin its fall seasons on February 22nd with football, volleyball, and cross country and on March 1st with soccer. The full sports calendar is available on the NMAA website at the below link:
NMAA Executive Director, Sally Marquez, has also created a special video to help clarify some of the many questions pertaining to this announcement. The video can be accessed below:
Frequently Asked Questions about the return of athletics and activities:
The Board of Directors held a meeting to vote on the start dates for athletics? When can football start? What are the other start dates?
Right now, for fall sports, the start date is the week of February 22nd. We will have a calendar out in regards to how many practices and when the sports’ competitions will begin, but February 22nd is what the NMAA Board of Directors voted on today.
If a school or district decides NOT to have hybrid learning and chooses to stay all online, can they participate in sports? Or what if a student chooses to remain all online when their school goes to hybrid, can that student participate in athletics and activities?
At this time, as of today, schools need to be in the hybrid in order to participate. Those school districts that are staying in remote will not be able to participate, per the governor’s office and the Public Education Department. However, if a school district is hybrid and a student decides that they are not going to come into hybrid learning, that they would rather stay remote, that student athlete would be able to participate in sports if they stayed remote and their school is in hybrid.
Are these seasons for all levels: varsity, JV, C-team and middle school?
At this time, they are for all levels, middle school, C-team, JV and varsity. However, that is a district decision. That might be something that will be looked at because some schools might have transportation issues, or because of equipment, or facilities. But at this point, from our office, it is for all levels.
What if a student athlete left the state to play a sport like football. Can they come back and play in New Mexico without penalty?
It depends on the sport. If they left the state to play football, they cannot come back and play football this year. However, if they left the state to play football and they return to their original school and they want to play basketball, they are allowed to do that. So, it depends on the sport. If a kid left to play all sports this year, they would be able to come back in the 2021 school year, if they come back to their same school, and participate without penalty.
If a district decides to sit out a season, can they come back and play ‘next’ year?
Oh sure. There is no penalty. We are going to have schools that are going to opt out of fall sports and may want to do winter and spring. We have schools that might want to opt out all year because they are going to go remote learning 100% of the second semester. There is no penalty. We just need to know by February 15th for fall sports. Winter sports and spring, we don’t need to worry about right now when it comes to making a decision on whether a school is going to play or not. But for fall sports, we just need to know by February 15th whether they are going to opt in or opt out, or maybe they’re going to come in the beginning of March. We just need to know what they’re thinking in regards to fall sports.
When will the 4:1 POD size change to allow the entire team to workout?
At this point, we are going to do 4:1 pods until the 22nd. We are hoping to expand those pods. That question is up at the governor’s office with the medical team. But at this point, there are 4:1 pods until February 22nd.
Will there be a state championship for each of the fall sports?
We hope so. But what I said in previous recordings, football is a different animal. For volleyball, we can do quarterfinals, semifinals and finals within one week. For football, you cannot do that because you’re playing one game per week. So, we are still looking at football. We have gathered input from the coaches and the athletic directors and we have also gathered input from our Board of Directors and we will make a determination on what is best for football. That probably will not be decided until we know how many teams are going to play football and that information will come on February 15th.
Will spirit and cheer be allowed at games?
That has been asked a lot. First off, spirit and cheer will be allowed to open up pods just like everybody else on February 22nd. However, they will be subject to the same rules and regulations when it comes to fans in the stands and we do not know yet, from the governor’s office, if fans will be allowed in the stands. So, spirit squads will be able to open in practice more, but we do not know yet if they will be able to cheer at games.
Do athletes need to get a new physical?
I just reminded athletic directors about physicals, we haven’t talked about physicals since the summer. There is a questionnaire for parents, and after they answer the questions, it will be decided if they can use their 2019-2020 physical for this year. That answer is yes, but there are some kids that might have conditions that require them to get a new physical for the 2020-2021 school year. Your athletic director has all those guidelines when it comes to physicals. That has to come back to the forefront because there might be some student athletes that have to have a new physical.
Do athletes and coaches have to wear masks?
It is mask wearing and we are going to say that over and over. I told all the coaches, all the athletic directors, I’m telling the student athletes and parents, it is mask wearing 100% of the time, that includes masks over your mouthpiece in football, and runners in cross country. That’s the question I get more than any other.
Do athletes and coaches have to be vaccinated?
Vaccinations and school re-entry is on the Public Education Department, that is not a decision the NMAA will get involved in.
What happens if there is a COVID outbreak within a school and campus is closed? Does it affect their athletics?
I think all things will affect athletic teams. We talk about game limitations and when we can start sports, but we have to remember there is a virus. There is a quarantine period where there is contact tracing involved. We will work with the Public Education Department and the local school. The school is going to be working with their nurse and the Department of Health and they are going to let us know if a team has to shut down for two weeks or a school might have to shut down for two weeks. We wil get that information from the school, the Department of Health, and then we will act accordingly for what needs to be done in regards to competitions.
Lastly, now that there is a start date and an official calendar, what is the most important message you can give to all the athletes, coaches and parents?
I think it’s patience, that’s the word I’d like to use. We have a start. I’ve been saying we are going to play sports again New Mexico, and we are going to play, but it’s not going to be like the 2019-2020 school year, or the 2018-2019 school year, it’s a little bit different. But we are going to be able to participate. I know we talk about the blue trophy and the championships, but we need to not even focus on that. We need to focus in on just our kids getting back with their coaches, with their teammates, and us having friendly competitions, and tough competitions, with their rivals and the schools next to them. It’s going to be a little bit different. But we are there. It’s not ideal, it’s not going to be ideal this year, but we are getting to play and I’m more confident than ever that we are going to play again New Mexico.
Source: New Mexico Activities Association