New Mexico State's basketball teams reportedly are seeking to relocate to start the 2020-21 season as their county fights a growing battle with COVID-19.
CBS Sports reported Thursday that the Aggies are looking at a number of locations where they could create a bubble for their teams, including Las Vegas and the Arizona cities of Tucson or Phoenix.
While the university's Board of Regents unanimously approved the athletic department's return to play plan on Tuesday, the state shot it down as officials try to curb the transmission of the virus.
The state allows college sports teams to hold practice or compete if the school is in a county with a 14-day average daily case count of less than eight per 100,000 residents and a positivity test rate of less than 5 percent.
The Aggies play in Las Cruces, the biggest city in Dona Ana County. On Wednesday, the state had 1,500 new cases, and 311 of them were in Dona Ana.
"Asking the State of New Mexico to make special accommodations for intercollegiate sports is a recipe for an outbreak and large-scale rapid response efforts in the event of a COVID-positive case," said Stephanie Rodriguez, acting secretary of the state health and education department, to the Albuquerque Journal.
"There are no exceptions to the state public health order, and violations of it will result in consequences," Nora Meyers Sackett, spokeswoman for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, told the newspaper.
"I would expect the leaders of an institution of higher education to know that legal directives can't just be ignored," she continued.
New Mexico State football already is on pause until February. The Aggies have just three games scheduled starting with a Feb. 20 matchup against Tarleton State.
Meanwhile, University of New Mexico football has relocated to Henderson, Nev., outside of Las Vegas. The Lobos are practicing at Sam Boyd Stadium, the former home of UNLV football, and players are living in a hotel and taking classes virtually.
The New Mexico campus is located in Albuquerque, inside of Bernalillo County, which had 418 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday.
--Field Level Media