While college athletics social media accounts have been encouraging all to wear face masks in recent weeks in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 — a virus now putting in serious jeopardy the possibilities of fall sports starting on time or at all as many college athletes have been testing positive during voluntary summer workouts — UNLV Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois added her twist, and hashtag, to the mix on Saturday.
The Rebels AD took a picture of herself with a mask on in front of Allegiant Stadium — future home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders and the Rebels’ football team — and posted it on social media with the hashtag #FaceMasks4FallSports and later challenged others in the Mountain West Conference to do the same.
UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez accepted the challenge, posting on Twitter a picture of himself in a Lobo-designed face mask and writing, “The @UNMLOBOS will take the challenge from the @UNLVathletics Rebels & @DRFrancois1 ! We all have do our part & wear our masks. #FaceMasks4FallSports Let’s go Lobo Coaches, Student-Athletes & staff. #WeAreAllIn We challenge @TomBurman1 @MarioMocciaNMSU & our great State of NM!”
The @UNMLOBOS will take the challenge from the @UNLVathletics Rebels & @DRFrancois1 ! We all have do our part & wear our masks. #FaceMasks4FallSports
Let’s go Lobo Coaches, Student-Athletes & staff. #WeAreAllIn
We challenge @TomBurman1 @MarioMocciaNMSU & our great State of NM! pic.twitter.com/ewg9bqWn4K
— Eddie Nunez (@EddieNunezAD) June 28, 2020
Both Burman, the University of Wyoming Athletic Director, and New Mexico State Athletic Director Mario Moccia accepted Nuñez’s challenge and posted pictures of themselves masked up and encouraging their followers and athletic departments to do the same.
Moccia, donning an Aggies mask in his Twitter picture, wrote, “OK @EddieNunezAD challenge accepted and given to @ScottNobleAD & @JimSenter2 in the #FaceMasks4FallSports.”
— Mario Moccia (@MarioMocciaNMSU) June 28, 2020
Noble is the Western New Mexico Athletic Director and Senter is UTEP’s Athletic Director.
In addition to the New Mexico athletic directors, numerous other ADs, players and coaches from in-state schools and elsewhere, most notably those at UNLV where the new hashtag originated, have taken part and posted their pictures with masks on, too.
NMSU has had its football team and many athletes from other sports back on campus for summer voluntary workouts most of June and, after an initial testing on May 27 of athletes showed six positive COVID-19 tests, all those athletes have since tested negative for virus and no new positives have been reported. UNM football players have started returning to campus this past week and hope to start voluntary workouts in early July with all UNM athletes getting tested before being allowed to start workouts.
Other universities in the country have seen spikes of positive tests among their athletes as summer workouts have begun, with Clemson having as many as 37 football players test positive and programs in the Mountain West, including UNLV where there were four athletes with positive test announced last week, have paused workouts that had already started.
To see other Twitter posts with the #FaceMasks4FallSports hashtag, CLICK HERE.