Some APS athletes leave New Mexico to play sports elsewhere

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The effort to get APS students back into sports is taking on a more extreme look. Some student athletes are even opting to leave the state.

Logan Fuller, a former Hope Christian state football champ, is one of them.

"We had just won state and it was looking pretty good for us. I was excited for my junior year,” Logan said.

Logan said he was excited to build on the success of Hope Christian’s 3A championship win in 2019.

"And then COVID hit, so we weren’t really getting able to do much,” he said.

“I know the pandemic is real, and I work in— I’m in ICUs and I see people with COVID and isolated and dying,” said Scott Fuller, Logan’s dad.

However, Fuller said he believes it’s possible for athletes to continue participating in their sport in a COVID-safe way.

"Strong contention is what’s best for these kids is academics and athletics which we know can be done safely,” he said.

In order to continue playing football, Logan transferred into the IMG Academy in Florida.

"My dream is to play for, probably for Oklahoma State Football, or Texas A & M. I got a list of like five schools,” he said.

Logan, now living 1,500 miles away from his dad, said leaving the state was the best way to pursue his goals—and he’s not alone.

"They would love to go, and they’ve given us impassioned pleas to leave and to move,” said Sara Limon, an APS mother of two.

Limon, who is a lifelong New Mexican, said her two children, Jack and Lucy, have told her they want to leave the state.

“It’s really hard when you have raised your children in a place that you love, to hear them speak so negatively about it,” she said.

While moving her family is not an option, Limon said she’s been at the center of the “Let Them Play” legal fight, which is currently raising funds through a GoFundMe aimed at getting the state to allow kids to play school sports before they return for in-person learning.

"Things are working just fine everywhere else. I think we need to be a little less fear-based in what might happen, and be a little bit more logic based in what we know works,” she said.

As a lengthy legal fight prepares to kick off, more New Mexicans are searching for opportunities elsewhere.

"I just looked what do I need to do to get to my goal, my dream—and this was the way,” Logan said.

KOB 4 reached out to the governor’s office to see where she stands on separating sports from hybrid learning. A spokesperson sent the following statement:

"The priority of the state of New Mexico is to safely get more students back into the best possible learning environment. School districts and charters have all the tools they need to make that decision and safely re-engage in a productive hybrid in-person model for the benefit of students. PED has maintained open channels of communication with districts as we make our way through these unprecedented times and continues to do so. If a school district can’t or doesn’t have the wherewithal or resources to safely re-engage in the classroom environment, where the state can and will assist with surveillance testing among other essential public health efforts to keep educators and students safe, New Mexicans have every right to ask them how they would manage a safe sports environment."