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NMAA puts off a vote on revamped prep sports calendar

There isn’t a definitive prep sports calendar for this semester. Not yet, anyway.

The board of directors of the New Mexico Activities Association on Wednesday morning voted to table a vote on the calendar until at least Monday, when the board will reconvene once more.

“We have to answer a lot of questions (for them),” NMAA executive director Sally Marquez said.

Among the topics that require clarity, Marquez said, is defining the parameters of the hybrid learning model. On Tuesday, the Public Education Department said high schools could commence NMAA-sanctioned competitions starting Feb. 22, but only if they are in a hybrid model.

Another question, she added, was calculating the eligibility of a student-athlete who remains in remote learning. Would he or she be able to participate in a sport?

Wednesday’s meeting had plenty of discussion, but not much else.

Three of the five action (re: voting) items on Wednesday’s board agenda were tabled, and a fourth failed after an extremely rare 6-6 tie vote.

The calendar, in combination with a vote on contest limitations for the fall and winter sports, which are all facing more reductions, were the two crucial elements to this emergency meeting.

The calendar featured some of the following elements:

  •  A five-game football season, including regular season and postseason;
  • A 10-game soccer regular season;
  • A 12-game basketball and volleyball regular season;

In the case of football, the number of games, including playoffs, had been at seven before having two additional games chopped.

How football will be structured with only five total games is a mystery. The NMAA is meeting with the state’s coaches Friday, at which point the NMAA should have some direction to take to the board Monday.

As for the five regular spring sports — baseball, softball, tennis, golf and track and field — they likely will continue to have seasons close in size and scope to what they enjoyed pre-pandemic.

Schools/districts are likely going to have until Feb. 15 to alert the NMAA if choosing to opt out of fall sports.

  • The third action item tabled Wednesday involved the eligibility of athletes who graduated from high school last month — and who may already be taking college classes, and whether they can concurrently take part in their senior season sport(s) in high school.
  • The one action item that did pass Wednesday addressed the status of athletes who have spent time in another state this school year to play a sport.

Those athletes can return to New Mexico to participate in a sport in the 2021-22 school year without facing transfer penalties, but only if they return to the school they were attending here.

If a student-athlete returns during this school year, he or she cannot compete in the same sport twice. For example, an athlete who left for Texas to play football can come back and play basketball or baseball in New Mexico — but not football — this semester.

TESTING: Marquez, asked about whether athletes will have to be tested for COVID-19 in order to compete, said school re-entry and COVID testing are not tied together. “It is not on the table,” she said.

NOTE: The University of New Mexico has extended to the NMAA an offer to help conduct state championship events in most every sport. The NMAA, Marquez said, has not asked for help in swimming, golf or tennis; the organization already has sites or venues that fulfill their needs in those three sports.

UNM already contributes its facilities for NMAA playoff events in baseball, softball, basketball, track and field and spirit.

“It’s been a wonderful partnership,” Marquez said.

The NMAA has not yet finalized playoff formats/schedules in any of its sports.

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