With the start of the 2020-21 school year now just two weeks away the sports schedule for the year set, Tiger coaches and athletes are starting to make their plans. The full sports calendar, outlining when each will practice and compete throughout the 2020-21 year was published in full in last week’s Sentinel.

Cross country and golf will be the first to start competition on September 14. Volleyball will join in on the fall season starting October 12. All three can begin official practice five days to one week before matches, meets and tournaments begin. Football and soccer, normally found in the fall, will begin in February this school year. New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) regulations allow coaches to work with their athletes before that time, during the off-season, for up to 7.5 hours a week. 

Current restrictions are still in force for work done before the one-week prior to competition practice begins, prohibiting scrimmages, and other contact practice. Strength and conditioning as well as non-contact drills are allowed. The “pod” structure is still in force, with pods of five athletes each working with one coach. Five such pods are allowed on outdoor fields and three are allowed inside gyms. Sharing of volleyballs, footballs and basketballs as well as other equipment within pods is allowed. 

All athletes are required to have a sports physical prior to starting practice. 

As with just about everything this year, the sports schedules and practice timetables and restrictions are subject to change. As NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez said last week, on release of the current schedule. “This is plan B. I can guarantee you we will have a plan C, a plan D, E and F.” The important thing is that we can move forward with preparing for the beginning of official practice as well as of Tiger teams competing. 

After last week’s announcement of the 2020-21 sports calendar, coaches across the state, including all our Tiger coaches started scrambling to schedule their season. We will print our Tiger’s Volleyball, golf and cross-country schedules, as well as all other sports, as soon as they are completed and released.

Within the calendar there are overlaps of various sports. Though these occur in most years, as one season transitions into the next, they are very different this year, especially with football and soccer moving from fall to late winter and early spring, and golf now having both a fall and spring section to their schedule. Our Tiger coaches are committed to working with each other and their athletes to make sure that all multi-sport athletes are supported in being able to be a part of their teams. 

One Tiger team is still waiting to find out what lies ahead for them. The NMAA has not yet released dates for Cheer/Spirit to begin practice, or for their competitive season. Normally a winter sport, they nonetheless practice and perform at games and matches through the fall season.

 Within our district as well as across the state, coaches, superintendents and athletic directors supported allowing teams to continue competing into late June, despite the school year ending in late May. This will allow all sports to have a season, though in every instance, they are somewhat shortened in length and number of games and matches allowed.

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