WEEKLY INTERVIEW WITH NMAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SALLY MARQUEZ APRIL 12, 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.
We just completed the Fuddruckers Soccer State Championships. How did it go?
I think it went very well. We were at the University of New Mexico. It was a new facility for us, the fields were fantastic, but more than the fields, the games were so close. We saw 1-0, overtimes, last minute goals, the excitement was there, the fans had a great time and overall what a great week.
The state volleyball championships were at UNM, state volleyball at The Pit, several football teams were showcased at University Stadium. Is this a location the NMAA will look at for future state events?
We’ve always looked at the University of New Mexico. It depends on the tournament. In volleyball, with double elimination, do we have enough courts? We don’t. We just have one court at The Pit. So, it’s ideal for a final, but not a double elimination. Soccer, we would need to see how many fields we have. We would take anything to the University of New Mexico. We have a great partnership with them, as long as it does fit our needs for the tournament.
The fall sports championships were online ticket sales only. Do you anticipate online ticket sales only for winter sports championships like basketball and swimming?
In the days of COVID, we will be going to digital ticketing and we believe that is the way we are going to go for the future. Our parents, fans and spectators, we need to get used to getting all the tickets online. It’s also a good way to contact trace and know how many people are in the facility, but that is the way of the future. We need to get used to it because we are looking at doing it from now on.
When it comes to mask wearing for winter sports, like basketball, is it up to the officials or the coaches to monitor mask use?
In the fall when we started sports, I believed the coaches and the athletic directors would be able to deal with the mask wearing and make sure that our athletes, when they are playing and practicing, have masks on. We have found that is not happening. For the winter sports, we have turned the corner and now it’s up to the officials. We have guidelines in every sport. Just like when they don’t wear their uniform properly, there’s going to be a warning. Then after another violation, we are going to take those kids off the court. We have to get it done. We need to mask wear, that is a governor’s order. I know it’s difficult and some people do not believe we need to wear a mask, but those are the orders. For us to participate, we need to mask wear at all times. That mask cannot be underneath their chin. To me, that’s defiance to wearing the mask. We have put it on the officials now. We still would like the coaches to be in charge of this, but the officials now are going to be helping us in this area.
When a student athlete is feeling sick, how should he or she proceed? Can they practice? Can they play?
I hope there are kids listening to this, as well as parents. We have had some teams have to shut down since the beginning when fall sports started and even as recently as this week we had to have some teams shut down because of a COVID case. The COVID cases are not going from a player to a player. What’s happening is the COVID cases are coming from the outside from a community member or their household and then coming to practice. When you have a kid that has COVID at practice or in a game, the Department of Health is going to shut down that team for ten days. It is part of the contact tracing. We are seeing that these kids are not being honest with their coaches, they want to play in the game, and then after the game we find out they tested positive for COVID. Not only have they affected their team and teammates, now they’ve affected their opponents. I urge ever kid and every parent, please be honest. It’s a little bit selfish if you are going to play in a game and now both teams have to shut down for ten days. The best thing to do is be honest up front, stay home if you have any symptoms, so we can continue playing.
Lastly, fall sports are now complete. Do you anticipate things going back to normal next school year?
We don’t even know what normal is. What’s normal going to look like next school year beginning in August? We don’t know. I equate it back to 9/11. After 9/11, how we handled airports is totally different. This school year, we have started fall sports and we have finished fall sports. We need to concentrate on this year and then we will figure out what next year will look like. Our athletic directors are already scheduling for the 2021-2022 school year. It is going to be normal. But we will make those changes when it comes to that time. Right now, we’ve started winter sports and we’ve started spring sports. We have that beginning. Now, let’s concentrate so that we have a finish.