If it’s up to the governor of New Mexico, the start of college football in her state will be delayed.
In the state, COVID-19 positives for people between the ages of 20 and 39 are on the rise. Earlier this month, that group made up more than 25% of all new cases. As such, the Albuquerque Journal is reporting, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent a letter to the regents and leadership at both New Mexico and New Mexico State requesting that the start of fall contact sports, including football, be suspended. The regents, it should be noted, are appointed by the governor.
At the moment, it’s just a request, not an order.
“I know what I am asking you to contemplate is difficult and unprecedented, but these are difficult and unprecedented times,” the governor wrote, in part. “Fighting COVID-19 is a team sport. I am asking each of you to join me and take it upon yourselves to do everything you can to fight COVID-19. Together we can protect all New Mexicans, and if we are successful, we can resume contact sports and re-engage in the camaraderie and joy they bring all of us in a safe manner as soon as we can.”
The health and well-being of our student-athletes and our Lobo community is, first and foremost, our top consideration in how we approach our fall athletic programs. Equally important is ensuring student academic success. We have been in regular communication with the Governor’s office over the past several months, and we sincerely appreciate the guidance her office has provided as we have worked on our plans for fall sports. We expect discussions with the NCAA and the Mountain West Conference to continue over the next couple of weeks as plans for the fall are finalized.
We are actively monitoring this ever-changing landscape with regard to intercollegiate athletics and following the decisions being made by the NCAA, the conferences, and other associated bodies,” wrote a university spokesman in an email. “We are also in continuous conversation with health experts in the state and on our campus. While we have not yet made any decisions with regard to altering our fall schedule, our commitment is to do what’s best for our student-athletes and our programs.
… responded with their own respective statements.
New Mexico, a member of the Mountain West Conference, is scheduled to open the 2020 college football season Aug. 29 against Idaho State. Thus far, there has been no public comment from the MWC on the governor’s request.
New Mexico State, meanwhile, plays as a football independent after leaving the Sun Belt following the 2017 season. NMSU will (possibly) travel to UAB Sept. 3 to open up its season.