Ryan Shumaker, Assistant Athletic Director
PORTALES, N.M. – Eastern New Mexico University will not be participating in the Lone Star Conference schedules previously released for traditional fall sports competing during the spring semester.
Eastern New Mexico cannot comply with the “COVID-Safe Practices for Intercollegiate Sports” document that outlines the requirements and expectations set forth by the New Mexico Department of Higher Education for institutions to compete in intercollegiate athletics. This decision will affect the Eastern New Mexico football, volleyball, indoor track and field, and men’s and women’s soccer programs and is consistent with the University’s commitment to safeguarding student athletes’ and the greater campus community’s health and well-being.
“This has been an extremely difficult period of time for our Athletic Department, and we truly feel for our programs, ” Director of Athletics Matt Billings said. “The state of New Mexico has made it clear that intercollegiate athletics competitions are not to occur unless all requirements listed by the COVID-Safe Practices for Intercollegiate Sports document are met, and we simply are unable to meet those requirements. We also cannot guarantee that our fall sports student-athletes will be able to prepare in a manner that will ensure they are able to safely compete on the field of competition with the current practice-size limitations issued based upon our county’s positivity rate.”
ENMU will honor all athletic scholarships for the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year. As the state of New Mexico health guidelines and orders continue to develop, ENMU will continue to weigh the possibility of fall sports competing in outside competition at some point during the spring semester if state guidelines allow for it.
“We will continue to practice and prepare during the early portions of the spring semester with the possibility of scheduling some sort of outside competition later in the semester if state guidelines allow for it,” Billings said. “We will not at any point go against the state’s health orders, but we will practice to the best of our ability in a manner in which our student-athletes will be prepared for outside competition, if that time comes.”
All athletic programs are limited to socially-distanced pods of five as outlined by the COVID-Safe Practices for Intercollegiate Sports, and will continue to adhere to those requirements until further notice. The Eastern New Mexico athletic department will continue to internally test student-athletes, coaches and staff members for COVID-19 throughout the spring semester.
A decision on whether or not the ENMU baseball, softball and outdoor track and field programs will compete in the Lone Star Conference schedules during the 2021 season will come at a later date as more information is provided.
For more information related to the current state of ENMU athletics, please see the “FAQ for ENMU Athletics COVID-safe document.”