WEEKLY INTERVIEW WITH NMAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SALLY MARQUEZ JANUARY 4, 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.
It’s been a couple weeks since our last Q&A. How was your holiday?
It was great. My family got together, but my son in Dallas didn’t get to come because of COVID restrictions, so that was tough. When you open gifts on Zoom you always make it work, but I told him let’s hope this summer we can have a family gathering. But it was really good.
Not too much has changed since the last time we spoke, but still a few things to go over. Can teams continue to work out in pods or is there any dead period?
As of today, we are in a dead period. The Public Education Department and the Department of Health are doing surveillance testing and 10 percent of staff will be tested. It also gives a two-week time period between winter break for quarantine. Between now and January 17th we are totally in a dead period, there are no workouts with coaches. You can work out virtually, but you cannot get together in person at the school, there are no workouts. They can begin again January 18th. The MLK holiday is January 18th, but since they’ve been out two weeks, we are going to say yes they can start their pod work outs on Monday January 18th.
First semester grades are in. What sort of feedback have you heard from coaches? And what does it mean for eligibility this semester? Can a student athlete appeal for scholastic eligibility?
Most students just started back up. Right now, grades are still coming in. I am going to get all that information this week to see where kids are at. Kids must have a 2.0 GPA and no Fs in order to be eligible. If they do have one F you can use the cumulative provision to determine eligibility. I will communicate with the coaches and athletic directors to see where we are with these kids. Before we left for break, we were seeing that a lot of kids were passing more than we thought so 2 or 3 months ago. So, I’m hopeful that things will look good. We will see if we need to have an appeal situation when it comes to scholastic eligibility or if we are going to be ok at this point.
Is February 1st still the scheduled start date for football?
It is. February 1st is still the scheduled start date for football for practice. Competition would not begin until mid-February. The governor’s office does have our calendar and we are waiting to see what they say about February 1st, but right now that has not changed.
Lastly, what will it take for the fall sports of football, cross country and volleyball to begin in February?
We need to get the numbers down and we need to get the case counts down. Right now, we are awaiting word after the Christmas holiday and New Year’s what’s going to happen with the case counts. We are all red counties. We need to get those red counties to yellow counties. The governor and the governor’s office do have our calendar to start on February 1st and how we plan to start fall sports after that. They also have guidelines on how we are going to do competition. So, we are awaiting word. In the meantime, we have to get these case counts down. I did take a little break over the holiday, but every single day I thought about the goal. Our goal has always been that we are going to play all sports in the 2020-2021 school year. Every day we figure out how we can make this happen. I’m here today on January 4th, the goal has not changed whatsoever, and in my mind we are going to play sports again in New Mexico.