ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s an online effort to try to get the state to let fall athletes compete. Members of the Alamogordo High School basketball team started a Change.org petition that already has the support of thousands of people.
“We were afraid that [our season] would get hit next if someone didn’t try and do something,” Alamogordo High School Junior and basketball player Scott Mullin said. He and some of his teammates launched the petition after the governor’s announcement Thursday that the public health order would go unchanged. That means the youth and K-12 sports this fall are held off until the spring, but practices are allowed.
Of course, this comes amid a spike in positive COVID cases. At Thursday’s press conference, the governor warned that New Mexico could become the country’s next coronavirus epicenter unless people work to stop the spread.
That announcement hasn’t stopped more than 17,000 people from signing the petition in less than 24 hours. It urges the governor and state lawmakers to let kids play this fall.
Petitioners believe the governor’s decision is only holding New Mexico kids back while students in other states are playing. They also say letting kids play is great for their mental health. “Yes, we are able to practice but it’s in such limited numbers that a lot of kids still don’t get the benefit of it,” Mullin added. The players hope to take this effort a step further by trying to set up a meeting with the governor.
In response to this petition, the governor’s office released the following statement:
“The state of New Mexico recognizes the importance of youth activities and how meaningful sports and after-school programs are for students and student-athletes statewide. The pandemic, and the state’s worsening health conditions, unfortunately, preclude a lot of what we all want to do right now. The best way to protect ourselves, our communities, and our state continues to be staying home to the greatest extent possible, limiting our travel outside of the home to only those trips that are absolutely essential, and wearing a mask at all times in public.”The Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
They did not answer the question of whether they’d meet with the basketball team. Right now, basketball season is scheduled to start on Jan. 4. That’s the NMAA’s schedule, which has not been approved by the governor.