NMAA approves new sports calendar
Last updated 12/5/2020 at 3:24pm
There’s almost no one in the United States — or the world, for that matter — who hasn’t had to make significant adjustments due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That certainly includes the New Mexico Activities Association, which for the third time this fall has redone its sports calendar in hopes of athletes being able to compete during the 2020-21 school year.
Originally, the NMAA planned to start volleyball, cross country and some golf in October, with the rest of the year’s 13 sponsored activities going off in the spring semester. Then, due to state regulations regarding the virus, everything was pushed back to a January-or-later start.
This week, the NMAA Board of Directors approved a new calendar, which would begin in February, and still includes a season for all sports.
Clovis High athletic director Lonnie Baca said the schedule, albeit abbreviated, appears to have avoided overlap about as much as possible.
“There isn’t really that much overlap,” he said. “I think it works out pretty well. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen.”
Portales High AD Mark Gallegos said at this point, the NMAA has done about all it can to have sports competition this year.
“When you look at it, this is going to be the last calendar we can have,” he said. “There’s still a lot to be determined, as far as how many games (teams will be able to play). I think the biggest problem for us is there’s quite a bit of overlap from basketball to the spring (sports).”
Overall, though, Gallegos said the NMAA did quite well in trying to lay it all out.
“You have to have some overlap,” he said. “But I think they did a good job to try to manage it.”
Essentially, fall sports — football, volleyball, cross country and soccer — are ticketed to begin between Feb. 1 and March 1. State finals are March 19-20 in cross country, March 29-April 3 in volleyball, April 3 in football and April 5-10 in soccer.
Winter activities, including basketball, swimming and spirit, start March 22 with state finals scheduled for May 3-8 (basketball), May 6 and 8 (swimming) and May 14-15 (spirit). Meantime, schools with wrestling programs are to begin on March 29, with state finals slated for May 27-29.
Spring sports — baseball, softball, track, tennis and golf — all begin on April 5 and will run deep into June. State finals are June 14-19 for tennis, June 17-19 (small schools) and June 24-26 (large schools) for track, June 21-22 for golf and June 21-26 for baseball and softball.
Baca said the NMAA may work out the football schedule for everyone. He noted that there may not be enough time for the Class 6A Wildcats, with a seven-team district, to play each of their six opponents, but added that it shouldn’t be an issue for other sports.
Baca agreed with Gallegos’ assessment that any further delay from the virus would likely wipe out the sports calendar for the year.
“We’re running out of time,” he said.
The longest seasons were for the spring sports, Baca said, adding that it may have been done that way in part because the 2020 spring slate was almost entirely wiped out by the virus.
“I think that was by design (by the NMAA),” he said.