What behavior could lead to ‘2 strikes’ at NM sports events?
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With the start of a new school year just days away for thousands of students, KOB 4 got more clarity on new rules about behavior at New Mexico high school sporting events.
A new “two strikes” rule is set to take effect. Schools voted in favor of it after it received pushback over the last few weeks.
The rule means two strikes and you’re out. Fan violations mean no one can watch events from the stands for the rest of the season. Two violations from any player or coach means the season is canceled.
A major question for teams and fans has been what behavior will lead to a strike.
NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez told KOB that 4 strikes would be for fights, threatening violence, or large groups disrupting play.
“These are over the top. This is just very, very bad behavior, egregious acts that will come to our office,” she said. “We have had situations where officials have been followed out to the parking lot and their lives threatened or been spit on, or we’ve had student bodies that have done bad language toward each other back and forth the whole entire game.”
The egregious behavior does not include one player slamming a basketball down or saying something to an official, and a fanbase isn’t going to get a strike because one parent is yelling.
That could be an ejection, but that’s not a strike.
“We’re talking about two or three people fighting, let’s say kids are fighting, and the whole entire bench leaves the sidelines and engages in a brawl,” Marquez said.
For weeks KOB 4 has reported on concerns from coaches and parents about the punishment being too severe, so the station asked Marquez about those worries.
“You know, I think at this point we can do better in New Mexico. We need to curb this bad behavior,” she said in response.
Many have been wondering who will decide whether something is a strike.
It will not be the officials or administrators, as many thought. They will continue as normal – warning and ejecting players and fans if they feel they need to.
As the director, Marquez says she will decide whether something is a strike after speaking with school administrators. Those conversations will be the chance to appeal.
Marquez says fan behavior was the strongest motivation for this, but even so, she says there were many incidents last school year involving players. She said there were seven or eight across all sports that would have been strikes, like bench-clearing brawls.
NMAA reps want these new consequences to motivate teams to avoid anything like those outbursts.