NMAA announces revised calendar
October 28, 2020
The New Mexico Activities Association last week announced its revised calendar for volleyball and cross country in the wake of ongoing coronavirus restrictions, though Tucumcari’s athletic director expressed some skepticism whether sports would be played in 2021.
Volleyball was moved to a March 1 start date, with state championships set for April 26 through May 1. Cross country was moved to a Feb. 15 start date, with state championships set for March 19-20. Like all sports, they will play condensed seasons and no non-state tournaments.
The Tucumcari High School volleyball team now is scheduled to play its season-opener March 6 at Pecos. Its home opener will be March 9 against Santa Rosa.
Tucumcari athletic director Wayne Ferguson said it would be “a while” before he finishes a revised schedule for boys and girls cross country.
“That season has really been shortened,” he stated in an email Thursday. “We were allowed 8 meets; now it's 3, so I'm waiting on the schools I had scheduled to decide on what date they will host a meet.”
The first sport to begin play this school year is basketball, which is scheduled to begin its season Jan. 4.
Ferguson said during a Tucumcari Public Schools board meeting last week the boys basketball team is the only one practicing at this time.
Ferguson said he was unsure whether any sports would commence early next year.
“I don’t know how things are going to change in three months without a vaccine,” he said. “I don’t have any high hopes.”
New Mexico health experts previously have estimated a COVID-19 vaccine might be available during the first quarter of 2021 but had no certain dates for it.
Ferguson said another looming potential problem is many athletes may not be academically eligible to play when 2021 arrives. He said he read a survey that stated 68% of student-athletes in New Mexico had at least one failing grade this semester.
Area superintendents have said a significant percentage of students are struggling in remote learning environments during the pandemic.
Another possible problem, Ferguson said, is the possibility at least three sports might see games overlap in the spring. He said student-athletes and assistant coaches may have to make decision which sport to drop.
The state’s public health order also reduced the mass-gatherings limit from 10 to five people. As a result, athletes and coaches have been reduced to 4-to-1 ratio “pods” during practices.
NMAA executive director Sally Marquez said in a videotaped interview last week that athletes must wear masks at all times and “shouldn’t be sharing the same air” during workouts. She said a large gymnasium should be able to handle four pods at once with no sharing of equipment.
Marquez said pre-workout screenings would remain the same, with temperature checks and questions about athletes’ health before they’re allowed to practice.
Here are the tentative dates for the start of the official season and state championship events for each sport. Dates are subject to change because of the pandemic:
• Basketball: Jan. 4 start date; March 1-13 state championships
• Spirit: Jan. 4 state date; March 13 and 20 state championships
• Cross country: Feb. 15 start date; March 19-20 state championships
• Football: Feb. 22 start date; April 23-24, April 30-May 1, May 8 state championships
• Volleyball: March 1 start date; April 26-May 1 state championships
• Golf: March 22 start date; June 21-22 state championships
• Wrestling: April 12 start date; June 14-16 state championships
• Baseball: April 5 start date; June 21-26 state championships
• Softball: April 5 start date; June 21-26 state championships
• Track and field: April 5 start date; June 17-19 and June 24-26 state championships.
Ferguson said during the school board meeting the district also recently procured internet streaming cameras for the high-school gymnasium and the football field. That way, if no fans are allowed at games during the pandemic, they can use a monthly pass to watch games instead.