New Mexico State postpones all fall sports


Mitchell Allred

The WAC and NM State opt for not fall competition in an attempt to better protect the health and safety of its student athletes.

Another COVID-19 inspired doomsday week in the college sports landscape has hit close to home, with New Mexico State becoming the latest program to cancel all fall sports with the hope of playing them in the spring of 2021. 

As first reported by Brett McMurphy of Stadium Network, the football season was the first domino to fall for the Aggies, who were down to just four games in their season after other conference cancellations and limiting to only conference play. 

With UCONN, a fellow independent, becoming the first to cancel its college football season on Aug. 5, this move comes as hardly a surprise for a school that had lost nearly $3 million from guarantee games against UCLA and Florida over the summer.

The financial ramifications of decisions of this magnitude have already been felt in programs across the country, but NMSU President John Floros maintains this was done in the best interest of those who are most impacted. 

“This decision was not made lightly,” Floros said in a statement Wednesday morning. “It was particularly hard for many of us who like college sports, and want to see our Aggies play. But by putting the safety, health and well-being of our student-athletes, our coaches and our staff fist, it became an easy decision to make.”

NM State attempted to push forward in trying to fill out a schedule, but the cancellation of all Mountain West sports eliminated another quarter of its schedule and boxed the Aggies in in terms of geographically logical teams they could schedule out of conference (since the program does not belong to a conference). 

Football didn’t stay the lone postponed sport for long, with the WAC — NM State’s conference affiliate in all other sports — deciding to follow the leads of other conferences around the country and wait until 2021 to attempt athletics. 

After the Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference to postpone all fall sports on Aug. 8, a drastic measure in response to the continued COVID-19 pandemic enter the realm of potential reality, especially for non-Power 5 conferences that don’t have the financial ability to create a bubble-like atmosphere and test the student athletes and members of the athletic programs and departments multiple times a week. Once the Big Ten and Pac-12 followed suit, though, privilege g it to be a challenge for even the wealthiest of conferences, it was all but inevitable. 

Like Floros, WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd refers to the safety of the student athletes, believing this is the best decision to protect the WAC’s amateur athletes and those working the programs from the coronavirus. 

“It obviously was a difficult decision, and not one made lightly,” Hurd said. “But it was one made after extensive discussion and consideration of all relevant factors as well as input from conference administrators and the Medical Advisory Committee. The health and safety of our student-athletes, the many others associated with our athletics programs and all those in our campus environments always will be the highest priority.”

In the WAC’s statement, “conditioning, strength training and other practice opportunities in all sports will be permitted per institutional discretion,” allowing for potential participation at some level on campus in hopes that a semblance of an athletic year can begin in 2021. 

Still, it is another sad day in the world of sports — something that is becoming all too common during this pandemic. The safety of the student athletes and members of the athletic programs should always be the top priority, and it was always going to be difficult for New Mexico State to resume some semblance of normalcy from an athletic point of view with the limited resources Director of Athletics Mario Moccia and the school have to work with regardless, but that doesn’t make the news any easier to swallow. 

In the meantime, let’s all do what we can to mitigate the virus and bring sports back.

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