LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was awaiting a response Wednesday from leaders of New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico following a request that both forgo playing college football games this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to university administrators, a copy of which was obtained by ABC-7, the governor cited "escalating danger" as virus cases rise significantly among young people in the state. (You can read the full letter by scrolling to the end of this article.)
Roughly half of all new infections involve those in their 20s and 30s. While she acknowledged that the virus rarely causes death in those age groups, although there have been a couple of fatalities in the state, the governor noted research shows it can cause long-lasting harm.
She said in the letter, which was first reported by the Albuquerque Journal, that it was "critical" to postpone college sports in the state until at least late this year or early next year.
“I know what I am asking you to contemplate is difficult and unprecedented, but these are difficult and unprecedented times,” Lujan Grisham wrote. “Fighting Covid-19 is a team sport. I am asking each of you to join me..."
NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia wouldn't comment directly on the governor's letter, but he told ABC-7 on Wednesday that the Aggies were awaiting word from a number of entities before determining how to proceed.
”I think we are very close to seeing some decisions from the perspective of fall sports and FCS football. I know the board of governors will meet on Friday and they could come out with an edict at that time," he said. "Everyone is (also) waiting for the decision from the ACC and BIG-12 and the SEC. Once those conferences come to a decision, we will decide what we are going to do.”