LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO (KTSM) – At New Mexico State, the Aggies are now officially looking outside the Land of Enchantment in order to play basketball this winter.
The school’s Board of Regents approved NMSU’s plan to practice and play in an on-campus bubble on Tuesday, but Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham quickly shut the plan down, as it violates the state’s public health order to practice or play games in the state of New Mexico.
That has sent NMSU searching for a Plan B, which means almost assuredly moving all operations outside of the state for the entire season in order to practice and play games.
It has precedence; the New Mexico Lobos football team has moved operations to Las Vegas, Nevada this season. Sources told KTSM on Wednesday that the Aggies are really eying cities in Arizona, like Phoenix or Tucson, and potentially cities in Texas. Sources said that as of now, Phoenix is looking like the Aggies’ best option.
“You can’t just pick up and go somewhere. You have to have a plan, like UNM football did,” said NMSU Director of Athletics Mario Moccia. “We’re working on that as we speak.”
The Board of Regents on Tuesday did not like a potential plan of moving operations to El Paso because of the high case numbers here, and KTSM has learned that that plan is officially off the table. There will not be the “El Paso Aggies” this winter.
Moccia told reporters after Tuesday’s Regents meeting that there has not yet been an indication of how NMSU might pay to move operations out of state. According to a report from The Athletic, UNM is pay $70,000 per week to house its football team at a hotel in Las Vegas. However, the university will receive around $4 million later on from the Mountain West Conference and the College Football Playoff because of payouts conferences receive.
With less than two weeks until the college basketball season is supposed to begin, there are still plenty of questions to be answered.