The University of New Mexico football team won’t be allowed to take the field this weekend. Not because of positive COVID-19 tests within the team, but because of coronavirus’ prevalence in Bernalillo County.
According to the University of New Mexico athletic department, high COVID-19 numbers in the community triggered state of New Mexico guidelines and forced the cancellation of Saturday’s game at Colorado State. The Mountain West Conference game, which was set to be the season opener for both teams, won’t be rescheduled.
“Our student-athletes have done a wonderful job, and they’ve done everything that we’ve asked of them,” UNM director of athletics Eddie Nuñez said in the announcement. “Due to the state guidelines that are in place and the direction of the state officials and health officials both … we will not be traveling to Colorado State to compete.
“Our decision to move forward is not based on any COVID outbreaks within our team. Right now, we have the ability to go forward and play.”
The Mountain West announced that the game is being declared a “no contest.”
According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Mountain West guidelines give final decisions to local officials.
“Finally, it is recognized that state, county and local guidelines and virus circumstances shall always take precedence and may supersede conference thresholds or institutional decisions,” the Mountain West’s COVID-19 policy reads, according to the Coloradoan. “In the event governmental parameters require a game to be canceled, it shall be declared a no contest.”
The Coloradoan reported that current Bernalillo County positivity rates have risen above the limit that allowed college teams in New Mexico to “hold full-team practices and play games and to travel out of state and back without a 14-day quarantine.”
The Lobos reportedly practiced in small groups Monday to comply with New Mexico’s state limit on gatherings of five people or fewer.