(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
PHOENIX – Due to coronavirus restrictions in their home state, the New Mexico State University men’s basketball team has created a temporary home in the Valley to kick off their season.
For the next five weeks, the team will run their entire operation out of the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa in Phoenix.
Sleeping and practicing at the resort, the Aggies have their first exhibition game against Arizona Christian University in Glendale on Friday.
On Monday, head coach Chris Jans held his first virtual press conference since the team’s relocation.
“We talk daily, we’ve been talking daily quite some time even before we got to Phoenix – going through the transition that you basically have to act as if everybody has it,” Jans said.
Even though there are fewer coronavirus restrictions in Arizona allowing the team to play their sport, Jans said the team’s mentality is focused on protecting themselves and others.
The team wears masks both on the resort property where they are “bubbled up”, but also while out in public.
“We’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and keep ourselves clean that way,” Jans said.
“But we were doing that before we got here – we were bubbled on our campus and moved our players to offsite housing to adhere to some very serious restrictions that we placed upon them even before New Mexico even shutdown.”
Under New Mexico health guidelines, athletic departments currently do not all allow games or workouts exceeding five people. Anyone who travels from outside the state also must quarantine for 14 days.
While in Arizona, all players and coaches are getting tested for COVID-19 three times a week.
The university estimates the cost of rooms, facilities, food and testing for the five weeks will be about $79,000.
The women’s team is planning to practice in Tucson, Arizona, and is looking at various places to play, including just over the Texas state line at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Additionally, New Mexico’s football team is operating out of Las Vegas while playing their schedule this Fall.
For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.