Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Athletic director expresses doubts on volleyball schedule

 

September 30, 2020



Tucumcari High School’s athletic director during a school board meeting last week expressed doubt the volleyball team’s schedule would begin on time in October.

Wayne Ferguson said during the meeting Sept. 21 he was “less optimistic” the Lady Rattlers and other area teams would begin their seasons Oct. 10 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tucumcari is scheduled to travel to Pecos for its season-opener that day.

In a follow-up phone interview, Ferguson said he and other athletic directors around the state hold “a gut feeling” volleyball season will be delayed from a week to several months because of the pandemic.

He said the season could be delayed one or two weeks or even pushed back to football season in February and March.

Ferguson cited several new COVID-related guidelines the New Mexico Public Education Department issued in early September that some school districts may have difficulty meeting in a timely manner as a possible rationale for the delay.

The state also has shown reluctance to green-light contact sports this fall, though volleyball features less contact among players than football or wrestling.

Another possible complication is the color-coded COVID-19 case outlook for counties throughout the state. Only counties designated in the green zone can expand in-person classes for school districts within their borders. Quay County has been in the red zone and now the yellow zone after it failed to meet the criteria for case rate and test-positivity rate. The state is due to re-evaluate all counties’ standing later this week.

Ferguson said details on teams not in the green zone have been somewhat fuzzy.

“The only thing we know for sure is if a school cannot play a game because of the COVID-19 restrictions, they will not count as forfeits,” he said. “They will just be a non-game, and if you can make them up, you can make them up.”

Though no direct guidance from the state has been given about the reopening criteria and athletics, Ferguson said athletic directors have been “very wary” about that situation.

“Getting to play volleyball is probably 50-50 right now,” he said. “Cross country will probably go on because it’s outside and there’s no contact.”

Ferguson said if counties in the southeast part of the state — which have seen persistently high caseloads of COVID-19 for weeks — remain in the red zone while other counties continue with volleyball, school districts in those regions likely would file a lawsuit.

Ferguson also mentioned during the meeting that the state has loosened workout restrictions for athletics. Students now can work out in groups of 10 people with masks and social distancing, versus the five-person maximum mandated earlier this year.

 
 

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