In General News, Press Releases

New Mexico Activities Association Executive Director Sally Marquez answers questions regarding the return of athletics for the 2020-2021 school year.  Here is this week’s interview:


Since we last spoke, there has been a change to the “dead period” when students return to school.  What is the change and what guidelines are now in place?

There is a change.  There is no dead period.  The superintendents voted, 70%, to have local autonomy.  Dr. Stewart and the Governor’s Office have approved our schools are able to participate in summer guidelines.  Even though we are not in the summer, they are the same NMAA guidelines after school even though we are in remote learning.  We will no longer have a dead period, however the guidelines must be followed, that is 5:1 player-to-coach ratio, mask wearing, limited equipment, staying in the pods.  They will be able to participate as they choose in local autonomy.


Since there is no longer a dead period, can teams compete or travel to compete?

They cannot compete, they cannot travel.  We are still strictly in the 5:1 pods.  In saying that, we do have basketball, football, soccer and wrestling that are merely just conditioning at this point.  Those are the contact sports that were moved until after January.  So, within the summer guidelines, now we are going to call them the remote learning guidelines, they will be just conditioning, social distancing, mask wearing, no equipment.


How long can coaches workout with their program?

In out of season coaching, we have a 7-and-a-half hour limit Monday through Friday.  We are going to maintain the 7-and-a-half hours Monday through Friday, the out of season coaching rules.  We didn’t want to make any changes.  So, between the local autonomy and the out of season coaching rules, that is what the coach needs to stay within.


Now that schools are starting to return to learning, scholastic eligibility will come up.  Because of the shift in seasons, what are the scholastic eligibility rules when it comes to football and soccer?

That has changed.  Back in June, before we had the shift in seasons, the Board of Directors voted on our new scholastic eligibility which gave our athletes a clean slate.  A clean slate means we were not going to use the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year for grades for the fall sport athletes.  Now that football and soccer have shifted to the February time frame, those student athletes must use their first semester of this 2020-2021 school year, the grades that come out in December, the semester grades, those will be used for eligibility for the football and soccer athletes.


How about basketball, wrestling, swimming and diving and spirit?  What are the scholastic eligibility rules for those sports?

Those are different this year compared to last year because usually those start in November, now those have shifted to the January time frame.  So, what’s going to happen there is those student athletes and the eligibility for those seasons will also be the first semester, December, grading period.  When I say scholastic eligibility first semester, that is a 2.0 and no Fs on their semester grades.


How about fall golf, cross country and volleyball?

Because those sports were shifted to October, we have two different scenarios here.  In our state, we have six week grading period and nine week grading period.  We have some schools that are on a six-week grading period and we have some schools that are on a nine-week grading period.  The six-week grading period is like Albuquerque Public Schools and Los Lunas Public Schools, those are the two main ones.  Those student athletes, in fall golf, cross country and volleyball, their eligibility will be based on the first six-week grading period.  Then to continue participating, they will have to be eligible at the second six-week grading period as well.  Those on six weeks, those three sports, volleyball, fall golf and cross country, the first six-week grades will determine their eligibility, but they have to maintain that eligibility and they will be checked again at the second six-weeks.  For those schools that are on nine-week grades, that’s a majority of our schools on nine-week grades, what will happen is they get a clean slate to start the season, before October 5th, but then the 9-week grades come out usually the second or third week in October, so right when they begin they will be getting their nine-week grades, they will have to be eligible at the nine-weeks in order to continue the rest of the season until December.


Lastly, what about spring sports scholastic eligibility?

The spring sports eligibility will be based on first semester grades.  So, whatever happens in December, 2.0 and no Fs, if that is the case, they will be eligible all the way through the second semester.  To add onto that, we get a lot of questions because the season is ending at the end of June and usually the school year will probably end at the end of May.  We are kind of treating it like an overtime period.  We will not look at the grades at the end of May in order to continue through the month of June.  What they do at the first semester in December will carry them through the season.


The latest NFHS study showed that schools can continue to offer music, speech, debate and theatre with proper guidelines and mitigation.  Does that mean New Mexico schools will be able to have band, choir, etc?

All our activities are going virtual, music is also doing virtual.  The New Mexico Music Educators Association has guidelines out there and they’ve been working with the National Federation guidelines to make sure how to do music, choir, one-act play, safely.  So, I yield to them and to go to their websites because they have all those guidelines as to what the band and choir are able to do with COVID-19.


Lastly, there has been a lot of support lately from coaches and parents to try and get these student athletes back on the field for their emotional and social well-being.  What do you tell those coaches, parents and students who want to be back on the playing field yesterday?

We want to be back yesterday, but we need to be patient.  There are a lot of people out there trying to push that envelope.  We just need to be patient.  We are all antsy.  I’m antsy, the parents are antsy, the coaches are antsy, but right now we need to get those kids to look at the remote learning and make sure their grades are up to par.  We just talked about scholastic eligibility and they’re going to need to have passing grades, so we need to make sure our kids are remote learning.  Now that the dead period is over, our coaches can work with the student athletes face-to-face.  Yes, a lot of it is conditioning, it’s not the Xs and Os, but we’re going to get there.  Right now we are in mid-August and we are looking forward to the beginning of October, but we all need to be patient and need to do what is right.  I know we just talked about being antsy and wanting to get back on the field, ‘I’m going to take a step back’, ‘What are we going to do?’, ‘I’m not going to be ready’, trust me, the coaches are going to get these athletes ready for the regular season.  Like I say every single time, if we’re patient, we wear masks and do what we’re supposed to, we get the kids back in school, then we are going to play again New Mexico.

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search