PHOENIX, ARIZONA (KTSM) – New Mexico State’s men’s and women’s basketball teams are both on pause due to cases of COVID-19, the university announced on Sunday.
The men’s team has been on pause since Jan. 4, when the program announced a positive case of the virus; on Sunday, the Aggies said they would remain on pause after multiple members of their Tier 1 group tested positive for the coronavirus.
Due to the continued pause of men’s activities, NMSU will not play its scheduled games with UTRGV on Jan. 22 and 23; the school said dates and times for those games will be adjusted. It is unclear when the games might be played. The Aggies are 2-1 on the season, having played just three games, none since a Dec. 28 loss to CSU-Northridge. NMSU has yet to begin WAC play.
The NMSU women’s team was put on pause after a positive case was discovered from a round of testing done on Sunday. It is the first positive case of COVID-19 for the Aggie women since the school began testing back in May of 2020.
As a result, the Aggies games against UTRGV on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23 have also been postponed. There is a chance the games get made up the following weekend, Jan. 29 and Jan. 30. The NMSU women are 3-6 on the season, 1-1 in WAC play after splitting a series with Grand Canyon this past weekend.
All members of New Mexico State’s men’s and women’s basketball teams are tested three times per week, per NCAA and WAC regulations, and have been since the beginning of November.
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, the NM State men relocated from the state of New Mexico in order to begin its 2020-21 season. The Aggies set up shop at the Arizona Grand in Phoenix, Ariz., where they have been living, practicing and taking classes. The women’s team joined the men at resort in early January.
New Mexico State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia told KTSM on Sunday night that there are no plans to pull the plug and move the teams home, despite the struggles getting on the court for games and practices to due the pandemic. Both the NMSU men and women have had a multitude of games canceled or postponed, both for their own cases, as well as positive cases of other teams.
The Aggies will remain in Phoenix and look forward to playing again, Moccia said. The cost of being in the Valley of the Sun is significant. NMSU paid $100,000 for the men’s team to be there for the first five weeks; with both teams there, the cost is $20,000 per team, per week, for a total of $40,000 per week, an NMSU official told KTSM in December.
NMSU, as well as the University of New Mexico, are hopeful that state restrictions regarding collegiate athletics could be loosened soon, but there has been no indication as of yet from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham that anything is imminent.