WEEKLY INTERVIEW WITH NMAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SALLY MARQUEZ MAY 24, 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.
State wrestling championships take place this week. What can fans expect? What will be different than what they are used to?
Just like in every other sport, there’s no overnight travel. So, instead of having a two-day event, we will have a one-day event. The A-3A and 4A classifications will compete on Thursday and on Saturday the 5A classification and girls will compete. It will still be at the Rio Rancho Events Center, tickets are on sale through gofan.co and the tickets will be day passes because it is a one-day event so people can come in, leave, and go back-and-forth. A big reason we have a day pass is because there will not be any concessions in any of our events, per the governor’s orders. Day passes will allow people to be able to leave and return.
When it comes to scholastic eligibility, many student athletes were given a clean slate at some point this past school year. Will that be the case when the new school year starts in the fall?
Now that semesters are ending, parents need to know and the students need to realize that we are returning back to ‘normal’ when it comes to scholastic eligibility. Last year at this time at the end of the semester, we did give a clean slate for the fall sports and that was getting the kids used to remote learning and it was the start of a pandemic and we were all just trying to figure everything out. Then in the spring, we looked at the fall semester, but we also looked at the 9-week grades, the 6-week grades and the appeal process. Throughout the last year and a half we have been giving most of our athletes a clean slate that they can participate as long as they were working toward their grades. For this next year, we are going back to normal. For the fall, whatever the spring semester grades are, right now, in May, will determine eligibility in the fall. That is a 2.0 GPA with no Fs, if there is one F you can look at the cumulative provision, but even then you need to look at taking summer school because we will not have a clean slate for the fall sports.
The NMAA Commission voted to on sites for State quarterfinals and Semifinals for soccer. What did they decide?
With the pandemic, we ask ‘What happened good, as a result, that we can use for future years?’ In soccer, we had our quarterfinals and our semifinals at home sites and then we came to the central region for the finals. Our soccer community really did like that and our so did our athletic directors. We sent a survey out, asking the coaches and athletic directors if this was something they wanted to carry over to future years. 75-80% of coaches and athletic directors voted to have a centralized location for the finals, but in the first round, quarterfinals and semifinals will be at home sites.
Do you think any other changes from the pandemic will be instituted in the new school year?
We are looking at every single sport and activity as to what we can take for the future. We talked about gofan.com digital ticketing, that is something we are going to carry over for the future. We’ve talked about home sites and travel and one day meets and top 16 only qualifying for swimming and diving and track and field. All of those little changes we had to do this year in every sport, we will look to see what is best for that sport for the future.
We are approaching the summer camp season. When can schools hold summer workouts and overnight camps?
We are staying with the same definition of summer, for the NMAA it begins Memorial Day weekend. We are staying with that for the fall and winter sports. However, we are encouraging those fall and winter coaches to allow their students and their athletes to finish the spring season. We cannot forget that we did not have a spring season last year and we want our kids to be able to maximize as much as they can this season. Thank you to the superintendents for allowing us to go to the end of June so our kids can have a good, solid spring season. Although summer begins on Memorial Day weekend, camps and tournaments can begin, but we are still in no overnight travel until June 28th. When our spring sports end, because spring sports are in no overnight travel, then that’s the time the summer will be released for overnight travel. Memorial Day weekend is what we call summer and that is local autonomy for our schools as to what they can and cannot do.
Lastly, has there been any change in the mask wearing guidelines set by the governor in regards to high school athletics?
There has not been any change. I have been in communication with the governor’s office and the Public Education Department and, at this point, the CDC has not changed their guidelines for schools, so we are still mask wearing for the remainder of the spring sports. If there is a change, I will make sure we get that information out ASAP.