ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A lot of athletes and their families are disappointed. Contact sports have been postponed this fall and that means no football or soccer. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Thursday changes the landscape of sports, especially for high school athletes.
“These contact sports are just too high risk and if we do well, we work hard, it is possible that we can just be delaying them and they can be played later in the year and then later into the season,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham in a Thursday press conference.
While the news is shocking it does not come as too much of a surprise to NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez. “Safety does come first, first and foremost, but we also want to make sure that they do the things that they love for their emotional, social well being as well,” Marquez said.
The unknown leading up to the governor’s announcement on Thursday has taken its toll on high school athletes and coaches. KRQE Sports spoke with Cleveland High School Football Coach Heath Ridenour on Wednesday and he spoke on the hardships even before he heard Thursdays fall sports announcement.
“The limbo weighs on people’s minds. I think if you came out right now and said, you know what we are not going to play in the fall, we are going to play in the springtime. I think that would probably put a lot of people at ease. As long as these kids get the opportunity to play, the kids across the state in every sport, just an opportunity to play. So, what happened to those spring kids last season doesn’t happen to anybody ever again. You know, you get to play, regardless of when it is,” said Ridenour.
Sally Marquez also wants people to know that sports will be back and that they have a plan in place. “I will have the plan out in mid-July, and mid-July is next week. So, I think everybody will see the plan that we have, with fall football and soccer moving. we will pick up pieces and again the goal is to have all sports in the 2021 school year,” said Marquez.
There is still a chance that high school cross country, golf, and tennis could be played but only if schools reopen in August. As for collegiate football and soccer, the governor doesn’t have the same authority over collegiate sports but she is strongly encouraging them to postpone their seasons. The governor wasn’t 100% certain on how they will handle New Mexico United’s season but with the ban on large gatherings, as of now, the team will not be able to play at home in Albuquerque.