ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Activities Association is cracking down on teams violating COVID-safe practices. “Right now, I’m very worried if what we’re doing continues that we will not have the chance to finish the season,” said NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez.
It’s been about two months since high school sports teams were allowed to start practicing and playing again. Now, Marquez says the time for warnings is over. “We have been warning. I have been warning since mid-February and it’s getting to the point where I can keep warning, I can keep telling them what they need to do but we’re getting to the point where the behavior has not stopped in many, many situations and we’re going to have to do a heavy hand in order to get to the finish line of spring sports,” Marquez said.
During a board meeting on Monday morning, members voted unanimously to allow Marquez to determine how many people who break the rules will be punished. Marquez says there have been cases of athletes and coaches not wearing masks and some have even shown up with COVID-19 symptoms.
Sanctions may include suspensions, forfeitures, fines, and post-season bans. Marquez says the NMAA warned teams and coaches and a heavy hand is now needed.
All other board members agreed, including Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Scott Elder. “I don’t want to lose graduation and I don’t want to lose spring sports and if we have to shut down all spectators, if we have to suspend some teams, so be it. Graduation has got to happen,” said Elder.
The Las Cruces superintendent also spoke about the ‘secret prom’ that shut down Mayfield High School. He said there were students from multiple schools there, along with athletes, who have had to quarantine.
Athletes, coaches, administrators, parents, and spectators are all subject to sanctions. The state championships are basketball and those start May 3. Baseball, softball and track and field championships will be held in mid-June.