NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A coalition of youth sports leagues and other organizations wants to know why youth and club sports have not been given the green light for competitive play like many other sports in the state. It’s impacting thousands of teams, from little league to fastpitch softball.
The Diamond Sports Coalition is supportive of the New Mexico Activities Association getting to play, but is urging the state to give other youth programs the same chance. Some of these teams have been traveling out of state, but they’re going on a year of not stepping on a field for competitive play in New Mexico.
“It’s the rec side, the kids that aren’t on travel teams are really paying the price on this deal,” Farmington Amateur Baseball Congress President Martin Bayless said.
“Their health, mentally and physically, I mean, is affected as well,” New Mexico and West Texas Director for Girls Fastpitch Julie Rodriguez added.
The coalition was formed last June to discuss how to get diamond sports to resume competitive play in the state. It says when the latest public health order was released last month, outdoor recreational facilities were given the green light to resume operations, but a state official told them that the approval has only been extended to amateur adult programs, colleges, professional teams, and the NMAA.
That leaves out the non-NMAA youth, which still can’t have scrimmages or competition. United States Specialty Sports Association Director for Central New Mexico Boys Baseball Dana Gilmer believes this was an oversight by the state. “We were told in that meeting that applies basically to everyone but us. We’re not allowed to continue playing,” Gilmer stated.
The various groups say they have measures in place to clean dugouts and bleachers after each game at the facilities that are already being used for adult programs.
As of now, the Farmington Amateur Baseball Congress, which is part of the coalition, plans to have its season in Colorado in collaboration with another league there.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the governor’s office for a statement. A spokesperson sent the following statement:
“We want New Mexicans to be able to resume the activities and events we enjoy as it is safe to do so and the state is always reviewing the public health policies to ensure consistent and comprehensive guidelines, particularly as elements of the pandemic are constantly changing.”
The current DSC membership includes New Mexico sanctioning bodies for youth baseball of Little League, USSSA, American Amateur Baseball Congress, FABC, and Five Tool; New Mexico sanctioning bodies for youth fast-pitch of Little League and USSSA; All baseball/softball academies in the state; and Parks and Recreation programs in the state.