2020-2021 AMENDED NMAA SPORTS CALENDAR UPDATED – 10-20-2020

 In General News, Press Releases

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In an effort to ensure students have the opportunity to participate in the sports of their choosing during the 2020-2021 school year, the NMAA has created an amended calendar which provides seasons for all 13 sports sanctioned by the Association.

The tentative dates for both the start of the official season and state championship events for each sport are listed below.  Please note that these are subject to change due to the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic.

Sport Start Date State Championships
Basketball Jan. 4 March 1-13
Swimming & Diving Jan. 4 March 13 & 20
Spirit Jan. 4 March 26-27
Soccer Feb. 15 April 12-17
Cross Country Feb. 15 March 19-20
Football Feb. 22 April 23-24 & 30, May 1 & May 8
Volleyball March 1 April 26-May 1
Golf March 22 June 21-22
Wrestling April 12 June 14-16
Baseball April 5 June 21-26
Softball April 5 June 21-26
Tennis April 5 June 14-19
Track & Field April 5 June 17-19 & 24-26

 

A detailed calendar and table of modified athletic events can be accessed from the NMAA website by clicking on the below links:

Sports Calendar

Table of Athletic Events

The NMAA has worked with its membership to create a modified calendar that will allow for all sports to be played in 2020-2021, while also limiting the overlap between each season so that students can still participate in multiple sports.

NMAA Executive Director, Sally Marquez, has also created an informational video that answers numerous questions regarding these changes.  This Q & A can be accessed from the below link:

Q&A with NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez

Here is a transcript of the interview:

The Governor announced contact sports would not be played in the fall meaning football and soccer will be moved to the spring.  Can those teams continue to practice?

The new orders from the Governor say that for summer workouts that football, soccer, wrestling and basketball are not able to participate.

 

For the sports that can continue to work out, like cross country and volleyball, we are currently in a 5:1 ratio of PODs right now, how long will that last?

I think the Governor’s orders right now are through the rest of July.  So, we are planning the 5:1 ratio, minimum equipment use, lot of sanitation, social distancing, mask wearing, all that will continue throughout the summer.

 

There have also been some changes in the guidelines.  Do coaches need to have a COVID test before working out with athletes?

That too has changed.  We keep saying everything is ever changing.  The Governor’s office made a call to me a couple weeks ago and decided that we are not going to test the student athletes or the coaches.  We will do those tests if we need to do contact tracing if someone tests positive.

 

Do student athletes need to wear masks when working out?

Yes.  The Governor’s orders include mask wearing when exercising.  I know that’s difficult, especially for cross country.  All athletes, and adults, when exercising need to wear a mask.

 

The NMAA recently announced plans for fall athletics and the upcoming school year.  Assuming that school starts on time, what sports WILL be played when school begins?

That’s the questions, what’s on time?  Right now, schools are working to get in a hybrid model for August, or whenever they start school, but there are some schools that may start remote.  There are some schools that may not go to an in-class model until after Labor Day. So when we say sports starting on time, we are looking at cross country and fall golf would start mid-September.  We shifted it back so our schools and kids can get acclimated to their new environment and then they can participate.

 

Will those sports be able to begin if schools start in a hybrid model of some in person learning and some online?  Can teams workout on the days they do not have in-person school?

That is a school district decision.  What we are looking at is that if the Public Education Department says we’re in a hybrid model or in school full-time, then we will have sports.  If the Public Education Department says we are 100% remote learning, like we did in March, April and May, then we will not have sports.  At this time, the Public Education Department has told the schools they can be in a hybrid model, whatever that looks like, since we would start the school year in hybrid, at this point, we will be able to participate in sports.

 

I know a lot of people have questions with each sport.  Let’s start with cross country.  When do you see it starting and what sort of changes need to be made?

We are going to have to look at mass gatherings.  I’m not calling cross country a mass gathering, but there’s a lot of kids at a typical cross country meet.  We’re going to have to look at shrinking the size of teams that can go to one location and run.  We will also have to look at staggered times.  You’re on the bus, you’re there, you warm up and run, and then you leave.  It’s not going to be hanging around and watching all the races anymore.  We will put those guidelines out to the cross country coaches.  I have been in contact with them and they are aware there will be some changes to cross country.  All the coaches are willing to do whatever they can to make sure their kids can compete.

 

What about volleyball, how does that look for the upcoming season? When will that start?

We are going to shift volleyball to a start date in October, October to the second week in December, where we will have a 10-week season.  Volleyball will be shifted to an October start date and not when school starts in September.

 

The calendar of estimated start times for each sport can be found online, but let’s go over some more of them.  Basketball and swimming and diving won’t even begin until January, is that correct?

That is correct.  All sports will be January through June except we’ll do fall golf, but the championships for golf will still be in the springs, we will have cross country when school starts and volleyball in October.  Basketball and swimming and diving will start in January.

 

What about the contact sports that were postponed from the fall? When do you anticipate football and soccer starting?  What’s the timeline?

For football, we’re looking around February 22nd and we will go for a 10-week time period.  We are looking at all these overlaps.  Football fits in there pretty well.  There is a concern with soccer because of the club soccer world.  I am in constant contact with club soccer leaders and try to figure out how we can make this work so our student-athletes who do play club soccer can also play high school soccer.

 

What about the schedule for spirit?

We will still have competitions; however, it will not be mandated that they have to have three competitions in order to participate in the state championships.  Our state championships for spirit will still be at the end of March, in the normal time frame.

 

Wrestling usually takes place in the winter, but now won’t begin until when?

Wrestling is one of the hardest sports because of the one-on-one contact.  In order to make sure we have a really strong wrestling season, we have shifted that back past January.  We have even shifted it to the April through June time frame.  We are trying to make sure we have that sport and there’s no issue when it comes to the contact with wrestling.

 

The traditional spring sports will still compete in the spring, just a little later.  How late?  What does it look like for baseball, softball, tennis, golf and track and field?

The hard thing is trying to figure out this overlap.  We sent out a survey to our superintendents in regards to even if graduation happens in May can we continue to compete in spring sports through June.  Over 85% of our superintendents said yes.  The superintendents understand that our spring sport athletes did not get to compete last year.  We want to make sure we do everything they can so they have a strong, solid season.  Because of the overlap, we will shift them a little and start in April.  We will finish in June, hopefully giving them a 12-week season.

 

In all of these sports, do you anticipate a shorter season and number of games or matches played? Will they play just a district schedule?

We are looking at 10 weeks per sport.  We are going to be consistent across the board, and maybe 12 weeks for spring.  In that time frame, the game limitations have decreased.  Again, it is not going to be normal, but our kids are going to be able to compete.  We’re still competing and that is the goal.  We are going to raise the trophy up for our student athletes.

 

What about the playoffs?  How does that look with a shortened schedule?

I think that’s still to be determined.  For example swimming, there’s a state championship on two weekends.  Are we going to have it on two weekends? I do not know at this point, but we want to make sure it’s in the calendar just in case.  In swimming, we’re limited to the size of a swimming area, the deck, the stands, that is troublesome when it comes to a mass gathering.  We don’t’ know at this time if we are going to be able to have fans in the stands.  We don’t know how many people can gather in that building, so it may be that one weekend we have to do boys and the other weekend we have to do girls or it may be we have to shrink how many qualify.  That’s an example for swimming.  Those are all the things we still need to work out when it comes to playoffs.  One thing about the playoffs and the regular season is there is not going to be any overnight travel.  When you think about the playoffs, to have a Thursday, Friday, Saturday format for a championship, that’s probably not going to happen.  Maybe it will happen in March, April May, but at this point we have to plan that it may not happen where we are able to have any student athletes in a hotel, spending the night.

 

Will there be travel restrictions for teams?

We have told the athletic directors that when they make their schedule to make sure they’re not spending the night.  For example, if we have a football game with two schools very far apart and they usually stay the night we’ve suggested they meet in the middle.  Find a neutral location to play that football game so you are not spending the night.  That is going to be a restriction that you go down and play and then come back, no overnight travel.  We are going to have athletic directors think of games in their regional are to accommodate the no travel restriction.

 

What about traditional tournaments in sports like volleyball, basketball or baseball and softball?

There goes the travel because tournaments are usually Thursday, Friday, Saturday and tournaments gather a large amount of crowds.  So, we are not going to be able to have tournaments this year, along with large meets.  People need to think along the lines of going to play a team and then you’re going to come home.

 

What about fans in the stands? Do you anticipate fans being able to watch sports like cross country and volleyball this fall and what about fans for the other sports later in the year?

I’m hopeful, but I have to prepare for both scenarios.  We have to prepare that there might not be fans in the stands and we have to prepare that there may be fans in the stands.  Again, it’s a fluid situation and we do not know at this time.  We are trying to do a lot of things to make sure that if there are not fans in the stands that we are streaming every contest.  But if there can be fans in the stands, let’s do it in a safe way.  Like ticketless, I’ve talked to the athletic directors about going ticketless when it comes to an event or temperature checks when they come in, when they go into a facility you have Xs on the stands to mark where they can sit and not yelling or chanting.  We are going to come into some guidelines where maybe we can have some fans in the stands, but we are going to follow these guidelines to make sure everything is safe.

 

Was there any consideration of moving traditional spring sports like baseball, softball or tennis to the fall?

In April there was, a long time ago.  When we started, the first thing we thought with no contact sports was maybe we could shift.  But as I started talking to coaches, the spring sports lost their season last year and I’ve been saying I will do anything I can to make sure our spring sports get to compete this year.  If you shift them to the fall, we don’t know what’s going to happen still.  In order to preserve the spring sports, it is best we keep them in the spring and make sure they have a good, solid season this year.

 

Lastly, how do you feel about the current plan and schedule in place for the upcoming school year?

I’m hopeful.  This is plan B and I guarantee we’re going to have Plan C, D, E and F.  We just do not know.  The guidelines say subject to change.  All I ask is the coaches, the athletes, the parents, superintendents and athletic directors, we have to be flexible.  We are educators, and that’s one thing that was always drilled in our heads is to be flexible.  We have to be flexible.  This is Plan B and it is a good Plan B.  Is it ideal?  It’s not ideal because there’s some overlapping we have to look at, but that means we have to be flexible.  If that means a student athlete plays two sports at once for a couple weeks, then that’s what happens.  We don’t have a rule that they can’t do that.  Does that mean our coaches have to work with the club world when it comes to soccer?  That might have to happen to make sure our students get the best experience.  It is not ideal, but it is workable and it is workable if we work together and that is administrators, parents.  I ask parents, you need to work with all of us, we are trying the best we can to make sure our student athletes get to play the games that they love.  I’m excited to see that we do have a plan.  Again, I keep saying it is not ideal, but we have a plan and we will play again New Mexico.

 

 

For more information pertaining to this announcement, please contact Dusty Young, NMAA Associate Director, at 505.977.5385.

 

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