Apr. 19—The New Mexico Activities Association will hold a special board of directors meeting Monday morning. Topics include violations of the state's COVID-19 safe practices and out-of-season coaching.
One thing that probably won't be discussed in depth is the roller-coaster ride that wrestling has been on the past few days. Citing concerns over the potential spread of the coronavirus, the NMAA unceremoniously suspended the sport the morning of April 15, only to reinstate it just four hours later.
That wasn't nearly enough time to stop the implosion of the scheduled season-opening tri-meet hosted by St. Michael's that same afternoon. Horsemen coach Jeff Howley said the NMAA's initial decision came after Tucumcari and Newcomb had loaded their buses and hit the road. News of the suspension forced both teams to turn around.
Before either of them got home, the NMAA's reversal on suspending the season was announced. By then it was far too late.
In fact, Howley said, the Horsemen coaches had already met with their team and told them they had to turn in their gear, that the season was over. Within hours, they were back in business, and by the next day Howley had rescheduled the tri for Tuesday in Perez-Shelley Gymnasium.
With coronavirus cases on the rise in high schools, the one sport the NMAA can't seem to figure out is wrestling — and how could they? It's the one sport where face coverings and social distancing are virtually impossible.
For now, wrestling (and swimming, for that matter) is on.
But don't hold your breath.
u u u
Nick the Stick's day will come, if only a year later than we'd hoped for.
The New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame will honor the 2019 induction class Aug. 15 at the Albuquerque Convention Center. It comes a day after a charity golf tournament at Twin Warriors Golf Club.
The seven-member class of 2019 includes Nick Pino, one of the greatest basketball players Santa Fe has ever produced. The 7-footer starred at St. Michael's in the early '60s and went on to a stellar career at Kansas State, followed by a brief run in professional ball. He died on his 75th birthday in November 2019.
He held the state's single-season scoring record for 50 years and once scored 80 points against El Rito during his senior year in 1963. Known as the "Gentle Giant," he became a beloved member of the community after moving home and getting into the insurance business.
The rest of this year's class includes Holly Holm, Danny Romero, Rob Evans, Jimmy Collins, Alan Branch and Carolyn Thompson.
u u u
Colorado State University announced last week it intends to open its football stadium to full capacity this fall, clearing the path for as many as 36,500 people to sit for a few hours inside Canvas Stadium. The Rams will play a six-game home schedule that starts Sept. 4 against South Dakota State.
The Denver Post reported last week that CSU has endured an $18 million revenue shortfall amid the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The paper quoted CSU athletic director Jim Parker as saying the school is planning to open all of its athletic venues to full occupancy, assuming health restrictions are not in place.
Don't mortgage your future on UNM or New Mexico State doing the same, despite an anticipated deficit in UNM athletics of up to $13 million. Both Bernalillo County and Doña Ana County are still yellow heading into Wednesday's update to the state's red-to-turquoise framework for assessing the risk for COVID-19.
Yellow counties can allow outdoor sporting events to open at 25 percent of maximum capacity, green counties at 50 percent and turquoise at 75 percent.
What's more, yellow counties cannot permit fans for indoor sporting events — meaning the present status of Bernalillo County means no fans will be allowed at the high school basketball state tournament from May 3-8.
u u u
It's like Christmas in April.
The NCAA transfer portal helped the New Mexico Highlands men's basketball team land fifth-year senior Ja'Vary Christmas last week. A former walk-on at Oregon who eventually found his way to Idaho after stops at two different junior colleges, the 6-foot-3 guard started the final 16 games last season for the Vandals. He averaged 6.4 points as a shooting guard for a team that finished just 1-21.
Will Webber is sports editor for The New Mexican.