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New Mexico Activities Association Executive Director Sally Marquez answers questions about the return to athletics and activities for the 2020-2021 school year.  Here is this week’s interview.

The NMAA has a Board of Directors meeting scheduled this week.  One of the action items is approval of the 2020-2021 Sports Calendar.  What is the latest proposal?  What’s moving or changing?

As we discussed last week, a January 4th start date may be unrealistic.  I do have an email up to the governor’s office to discuss the January 4th start date, but we need to be proactive.  So, we need to send a new calendar to the Board of Directors on Wednesday to see if we need to shift the start date back and begin in February.  There are different options and I’ll be meeting with the coaches and athletic directors in the next couple days before the Board meeting to make a decision as to what calendar we are going to send to the Board of Directors on Wednesday.


Another action item on the agenda is a COVID addendum with a cumulative provision for freshman.  Can you explain to students and parents and coaches what that means?

Every single student-athlete must have a 2.0 grade point average and no Fs.  However, at the semester you may use the cumulative provision.  Our current bylaws allow the sophomores through seniors to be able to use the cumulative provision if they have one F.  What that means is that if a student has one F they can go to the cumulative provision and if they have a 2.0 grade point average then they would be eligible.  Because freshmen do not have a cumulative GPA at this time, we have allowed freshmen to also use that bylaw.  So, if a freshman does not have a 2.0 GPA and no Fs, then if they have one F they can go ahead and look at that one semester and if they are above a 2.0 GPA they will be eligible.  Once again, freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors need a 2.0 GPA and no Fs, and if they have one F you can look at the cumulative provision and if they have a 2.0 GPA they would be eligible the next semester.


Powerlifting will have their second virtual competition this week, but it was extended to a two week period.  Why?

There are some schools that didn’t work out over Thanksgiving break and we were concerned that if they started today after the Thanksgiving break and they hadn’t been working out, we didn’t want injuries to occur.  For those schools that did not work out over Thanksgiving break, they have a two-week window to do their powerlifting lifts for the virtual competition.  Those that did workout over Thanksgiving can do it this week.  We wanted to give a little more flexibility in order to avoid pushing the athletes to the point of injury which is why we are giving them a two-week period.


New Mexico is one of the few states not competing in any sports this semester.  Some parents want to know, why can’t the NMAA just decide to start to play if they want?

Although we are a non-profit organization, we are a semi-quasi education entity.  So, we fall under the education department.  So, we need to follow the public health order by the governor when it comes to competition.  We cannot just go out on a limb and do what we want to do.  You see what UNM and New Mexico State are doing.  They are under the public health order as well and they have been able to leave the state.  We are a little bit different.  What we need to do is we need to be able to communicate with the governor’s office, communicate with the Public Health Department, communicate with the Public Education Department and then we can make sure we are doing what’s right under the governor’s public health orders.


Lastly, we just celebrated Thanksgiving last week.  This year has been unexpected, unprecedented, and one without sports since March.  In spite of all the negatives, what do you are you and the NMAA thankful for this year?

There’s so much to be thankful for, I’ve always said this, even before COVID.  When the job was really rough and difficult, for me personally, if my two sons and my daughter in law were healthy, and my mom was healthy, and my family was good and happy, then that’s what really matters.  Over the Thanksgiving break I was able to reflect on that, even though we were at a small, small group for Thanksgiving, you reflect on your family.  When we talk about family, we have an NMAA family and that includes our athletic directors, our administrators and our schools.  I am so thankful for all of them.  What COVID has done is increase the communication between all of us.  We are all in this together.  We are all leaning on each other to get through this crisis.  When you look back and ask what are you thankful for, I am thankful for all of the schools, the membership, the administration and the coaches.  The coaches have done a fantastic job with these kids knowing the importance of education-based athletics.  Education-based athletics is teaching life-long skills.  If there was ever a time when coaches are teaching life-long skills, it’s in this time.  Our kids are getting stronger, they are doing so much better when it comes to learning about what the future is going to be and how to pick yourselves up when the going gets tough.  With that being said, there is so much to be thankful for. I want to say thank you New Mexico for believing in the NMAA and for being on the same page that we know athletics and activities are so good for kids and we are not going to give up and I know the parents aren’t going to give up, the ADs, the coaches, the administrators, because we are going to play again New Mexico.

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