New Mexico high schools weigh in on ‘2 strikes’ policy

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There’s a big vote coming up for New Mexico high school sports. The NMAA wants to add a “two strikes” policy – new consequences for bad behavior.

If a player commits what they’re calling an “egregious act of unsportsmanlike conduct” twice in a season, that team would be done for the year. It’s the same thing for fans – two incidents and no one would be able to watch that team’s games.

“Everyone’s got to check their behavior a little bit,” said Roy Sanchez, Eldorado High athletic director and boys’ basketball coach. “What’s this for? What are these athletics for? They’re for the kids.”

Sanchez has concerns about the two strikes proposal, but his school is voting for it. He just hopes no team’s season actually gets canceled.

“Hopefully it doesn’t happen, but hopefully people take notice and they’re on their best behavior,” Sanchez said.

Many coaches hope everyone takes their behavior more seriously – but even Sanchez is worried about what actions may lead to a referee or umpire making a ruling.

“What’s egregious?” Sanchez asked. “That’s the wording they use. I’m not sure that’s totally defined.”

The longtime coach can’t recall a boys’ basketball team that had their season get canceled in New Mexico.

His players are seeing the benefits of the proposal.

“I respect NMAA for trying something out,” said Johnny Salas, a basketball player at Eldorado High. “If it’s that bad, then I think they should get their season canceled. I’m going to make sure I’m going to behave. It’s my senior year.”

Parents and teachers certainly hope teams can play all of their games.

“That’s pretty extreme,” said Christina Morrison, Eldorado High parent and teacher. “Our boys work so hard. They make so many sacrifices, and I just don’t think it’s a fair ruling.”

Schools that are against the proposal are worried about how severe the consequences are, penalizing a whole team for potentially one player’s behavior, and officials making a ruling for something that doesn’t merit it.

The NMAA gave all schools a few weeks to make a decision. We do not have an update on their deadline.