EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – New Mexico State men’s basketball paused all team activities and canceled two games against Santa Clara and Cal Poly after one player in the Aggies’ Tier 1 group tested positive for COVID-19, the university announced on Saturday.
NM State was made aware of the positive result late Friday night. The positive came in the results from the Aggies’ Thursday (Dec. 3) tests. Everyone within the program has been getting tested three times per week since the beginning of November and the Aggies’ entire Tier One group tested negative on Monday, Nov. 30.
NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia confirmed that it was one Aggies player that tested positive, not a coach or staff member.
On Saturday afternoon after the announcement of the positive case, NMSU began its journey from Santa Cruz, Calif., back to Phoenix, Ariz., where the Aggies are currently staying and practicing due to COVID-19 regulations in the state of New Mexico.
Moccia said that the Aggies are takes two buses back to the Valley of the Sun; one bus for players and staff members that tested negative, and one bus for the positive player and their close contacts on the team.
The Aggies should arrive back in Phoenix early Sunday morning, at which time they will all immediately isolate and get tested again, then await results. A plan for moving forward will be made after the results of the next round of testing.
“That’s the first thing, let’s get back and get tested again,” Moccia said. “Whether it’s the NCAA or the CDC, the rules seem to be very fluid with how long you’re isolated, the people who are in closer contact than others. So we’ll be figuring all of that out.”
“Today’s news was disappointing for our program, but we remain committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone in our party,” NMSU head coach Chris Jans said in a statement. “We are following all of the COVID-19 protocols put in place by NM State and the NCAA in order to maintain a safe environment as we prepare to return to Phoenix.”
The Aggies were supposed to play Santa Clara on Saturday afternoon, and Cal Poly on Monday evening, but now neither game will be played. NMSU’s scheduled game at Arizona on Dec. 12 is now also in jeopardy, Moccia said.