WEEKLY INTERVIEW WITH NMAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SALLY MARQUEZ JANUARY 19, 2021
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.
Has the governor’s office determined if it’s safe to start fall and winter sports in February? Have schools been given the green light to start?
We have not been given the green light from the governor’s office. There has been some conversation, we are hopeful. We are still staying in that mode that we are hopeful that we are going to be able to play all sports in the 2020-2021 school year. However, we have not been given the green light as of yet.
If fall sports cannot start, does that mean winter sports cannot start either?
I don’t think that decision has been made yet. I think we need to wait and see when it the governor give us the ok to start sports and at that time where are we in the school year and where are we within the calendar. I’m hoping that we don’t have to cancel fall or winter sports, but I don’t think one goes with the other. If we have to cancel fal sports, I think we have to try and maintain and do as many sports as we can in the 2020-2021 school year.
If fall and winter sports will not happen, is the NMAA considering relaxing the out of season coaching bylaws?
I think that’s on the table. We’ve talked about that when we’re given the yes and the ok, our kids have not played for ten and a half months. We need to be able to have our coaches to be with those athletes. I think we will have a discussion with the athletic directors to see what we need to do within our bylaws to make it work for all students.
Has the NMAA ever considered some kind of ‘bubble’ like we saw in the NBA and NHL?
I wish we could. We have 50,000 student athletes and they all have different households and there’s no way that we can have a bubble. However, we have talked about, just like schools say you cannot have alcohol or tobacco and you get removed from a team, is there anything within the code of conduct at the schools to be able to make sure that kids do what they’re supposed to do at home within their own little bubble to make it work for sports.
When sports return, will fans be allowed?
Right now, the focus is getting the ok to start. When we get the ok to start, what does that mean? Does it mean that we get to play district games? Does it mean that we’re going to have a state championship? Does it mean that we can get out of the pods and start practicing? And then can we have fans in the stands? If we are not able to have fans in the stands, per the governor’s office, then we’ve been working with our athletic directors about streaming every single game that we possibly can at all levels.
Lastly, coaches and athletes are frustrated as they wait and wait and wait for a green light to start. Why hasn’t the NMAA announced the cancellation of any sports at this point?
You said the word frustrated. We’re all frustrated. I think we’re all tired. But like I’ve been saying is the goal has always been that we play all sports for the 2020-2021 school year. I myself personally do not want to look back and say we could have, would have, should have. We need to make sure that we exhaust everything possible in order for our kids to get back on the field. When we are given that go-ahead, then we make concrete decisions as to what can we do for the remainder of the year. Right now, to pull the plug, when we do not know when we’re going to be able to start, we have so many unknowns still. Right now, the goal is to still play all sports and I’m not going to change that goal until we are told we have to change that goal. So, let’s stay positive, let’s continue to work for our goal, and we are going to play sports again New Mexico.