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Legislator Wants 7-Game Slate at UNM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Proposal calls for every state championship prep football game to be played on the same day at University Stadium

 

 

The dream of every New Mexico high school basketball player is to run
down the Pit ramp for a championship game during the state tournament.

If Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque) gets his way, maybe a few
football players will start dreaming about running onto the grass at
University Stadium.

Maestas has proposed that all seven state championship football games
be held at the 39,224-seat home of Lobo football. As it stands, sites
for all championship games are on-campus facilities of one of the
participating schools.

Maestas’ plan calls for UNM hosting the one-day event four times in a
five-year cycle. New Mexico State’s Aggie Memorial Stadium would host
it every fifth year.

The measure, formally known as House Joint Memorial 52, was introduced
last week. Memorials, or resolutions, are informal measures in which
the Legislature can request open dialogues between agencies as a means
to conduct business.

“I’m not trying to pass this into law and I’m not trying to force the
(New Mexico Activities Association) into enacting change, but I am
trying to start a discussion about whether or not this can be done,”
Maestas said. “Basically, we’ve been killing ourselves up here in the
Legislature. I feel we needed something light-hearted to talk about,
and this was it.”

Maestas, a self-described sports junkie, is the son of former Journal
sports writer Frank Maestas. He’s also the first to admit that his plan
has a few inherent problems.

For starters, playing seven games in one day is impossible unless a few
of those games are played in the middle of the night. High school games
generally take between two and three hours.

Second, playing seven games in one day on a natural grass field would
cause excessive wear and tear. Toss in inclement weather and that
pristine turf would look like it just hosted a tractor pull.

“UNM won’t even let us there for warm-ups at track, and that’s in the
spring, three months before the Lobos’ first game,” said NMAA spokesman
Robert Zayas. “There are just a lot of things to consider with a plan
like this.”

Zayas said this discussion comes up virtually every year. Each time
it’s usually the coaches who shoot it down because they enjoy the
festive atmosphere of playing before a capacity crowd.

The 5A championship has drawn an estimated 8,000 fans each of the last
two years at Albuquerque’s Wilson Stadium. A similar crowd at
University Stadium would leave approximately four in five seats
unoccupied.

There’s also the cost of renting the stadium, the state championships’
proximity to the annual New Mexico Bowl (see field wear and tear) and
the fact that not all seven classifications share the same weekend for
state finals. The Six-Man game, for instance, is held three weeks
before the 3A, 4A and 5A title games.

And then there’s this: The field dimensions for Six Man and Eight Man are smaller than those of a standard game.
“I just see the state (basketball) tournament as this great year-end
event that kids everywhere dream about,” Maestas said. “Like I said,
it’s an informal dialogue. I can dream, can’t I?”

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