There will be no high school football or soccer this fall, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced last week.
In her press conference last Thursday announcing the return of more stringent restrictions to the public health order, Lujan Grisham also announced that no contact sports would be allowed to occur this fall.
Football and soccer are slated to be played in the spring, with soccer beginning on February 15 and running through April 17, while football will begin February 22 and run through May 8.
Decisions about other fall sports, such as volleyball and cross country, which are non-contact, will be made at a later date, but contingency plans will exist for those sports as well in the event they are unable to be played during the fall.
Currently, cross country and fall golf are the first two sports scheduled to start, with their seasons scheduled to run from September 14-November 14.
“Organized amateur contact sports are prohibited,” the public health order, which went into effect on Monday, July 13 reads. “For purposes of this order, ‘contact sports’ includes (among other things) football, wrestling, basketball and soccer.
“This prohibition extends to adult or youth recreation leagues and club sports as well as any school-sponsored or school-sanctioned leagues and teams.
“This prohibition should be broadly construed and is intended to include organized practices and games and any other in-person activities.”
The order is in effect through the end of the month, barring any extensions by the governor. However, even if conditions allowed contact teams to return to practice, they would still be barred from competing this fall.
Prior to the order, teams had been allowed to practice in “pod” settings, which limited each coach to working with a group of no more than five students at one time. All coaches were required to get tested for COVID-19 in order to coach their teams this summer.
The restrictions, which were voted on by the NMAA on June 15th, were intended to limit contact as much as possible in order to limit the spread of the virus if one of the participants did have the disease, as well as simplify contact tracing in order to cut down on delays in those with exposures being informed.
So far, no districts in New Mexico have had to shut down summer workouts due to a positive COVID-19 case.
“Interscholastic athletics are an important part of the overall educational process. The NMAA will work tirelessly to ensure students have the opportunity to participate in all sports and activities of their choosing during the 2020-2021 school year,” NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez said in a release following the announcement.
Many districts around the state, including Los Lunas Schools, shut down workouts following the Fourth of July holiday. Workouts for LLS were scheduled to resume July 13.
Coronavirus cases have been climbing steadily in New Mexico, with the state having a total of 15,514 cases at print time. 198 of the cases are in Valencia County, which has also seen two deaths and 80 recoveries.