New Mexico State is moving out of the state and headed west.
The Aggies announced on Tuesday that their men’s basketball team will relocate to Phoenix for the next five weeks due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic in New Mexico, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.
The team will stay at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, and will have access to a full court and weight room. The goal is to return to New Mexico after the five weeks, though players and staff will extend their stay in Phoenix if needed.
The university estimated that it will cost nearly $100,000 to house, feed and test players and staff three times a week for the coronavirus in Phoenix.
"While far from our first option, I am pleased that we found such a tremendous opportunity to prepare for the upcoming season in Phoenix, Arizona," New Mexico State athletic director Mario Moccia said, via the Sun-News. "The Arizona Grand will provide the ability for our team and coaches to isolate as much as possible while having virtually unlimited access to a court."
Aggies unsure where they will play games
Though the team now has a home base, it’s still unclear where it will host home games when the season kicks off next week.
The goal, Moccia said, is to play either in the Phoenix Suns’ arena or a college arena in the city — though no deal has been set. Traveling north to play in Las Vegas is an option, too.
The Aggies are planning to play both rivalry games against New Mexico and UTEP, however the rest of their non-conference schedule is still not set.
"I don't foresee playing a full non-conference slate," Moccia said, via the Sun-News. "If we can get our rivalry games and some Division II opponents, I'll definitely feel like I'm playing with house money a little bit. We'll see what our basketball staff comes up with."
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a two-week “stay at home” order in the state that started Monday due to a surge in coronavirus cases there, which shut down all non-essential businesses. The state is averaging more than 1,300 new cases a day over the past week, up almost 1,000 from a month ago.
The United States reported more than 166,000 new cases on Monday, according to The New York Times, and is averaging 155,000 new cases a day over the past week. At least 20 men’s college basketball programs across the country have suspended play due to outbreaks, and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis have all tested positive themselves.
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