WEEKLY INTERVIEW WITH NMAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SALLY MARQUEZ MARCH 15, 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.
A couple more schools and districts will begin athletics this week. How did the NMAA schedule those teams that came into the season later than others?
Once we found out who was going to opt back in due to the Public Education Department changing their criteria, we took those schools, and for some, we were able to create their own districts within their region. For others, it might have been one school had to be re-inserted back into their original district. Depending on the school that was opting in, some of our schools had to re-do their schedules in order to give them a home and away and be back in the district, others were able to create a brand new schedule for the fall competitions. Either way, every school that opted in at the last minute was able to get a schedule.
What will the final week of the football season look like? How will you determine the matchups?
Right now, we are asking ‘Do you want to play that final week?’ There are some schools that may want to opt out in order to go onto basketball season. We may see that in smaller schools because a lot of those athletes are doing both sports. Once we find out who wants to play that last week, we will then have a bowl-type scenario where we will schedule them with another team and they will have one more game to end the season.
Is there any update on possible state events in volleyball and soccer?
I’m still awaiting word. We are very hopeful we will have a state event, but at the time of this taping we do not have approval from the governor’s office to play outside our regions. When we do a state competition, you’re going to be playing schools from different regions. We need to get that approval from the governor’s office and then we will have a state event. If not, we will look to have a culminating event within the regions.
Basketball will start next week. Can student athletes participate in competitions for two sports at once? For example, can an athlete play a basketball game on Thursday and then a football game that Friday or Saturday?
I’m getting that question quite a bit, especially from parents asking what their son or daughter is supposed to do because they play both sports. From the very beginning when this calendar was shrunk, we asked the athletic directors and the coaches to make sure that you allow those multi-sport athletes to do both. Work it out as to how you’re going to practice and how you’re going to play. From the NMAA standpoint, a student athlete can be doing both sports at the same time and we encourage that. We don’t want to overwork them. But we want to make sure they are able to play both sports.
Lastly, fan attendance is based on the county color in regards to COVID-19 positivity rate within those counties. What do you think the chances are that fans will be able to be in attendance for state events, if those are approved?
The first thing we need to look at is not just state events. We need to get our counties to green and turquoise so the volleyball parents can watch their kids participate. Right now, people are excited being in the yellow, but that’s just for outdoor sports. In my mind, I’m thinking those yellow counties and those red counties we need to get to green so that our parents in volleyball and indoor sports are able to watch their athletes. Basketball is around the corner, that’s an indoor sport. Spectators are based on the color of the counties. We need to do everything we can to mask wear. I saw some pictures this weekend from some of the games and we need to do a better job making sure the masks are over the nose and the mouth, and that’s with spectators as well. We need to social distance, and we need to do everything we can within our household and our community to make sure we turn those counties to green and turquoise. Once we do that, then we can talk about state championships, but for right now we need to do that so our indoor sports’ parents can watch their kids play. It’s been a year and we are playing again. We have a start and now we need to finish in the right way.