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NMAA reduces number of teams in state tournament brackets

NMAA decides on 12 instead of 16 in the state basketball and baseball tournaments brackets, with these changes to go into effect in 2019

Organization does not rest once school is out, going over classifications and alignments and enrollment

Arnie Leshin

By Arnie Leshin

It’s all about numbers, some approve, some don’t, but it’s a decision made by the New Mexico Activities Association to trim the girls and boys basketball tournament field to an even dozen schools.

This will began in 2019, and also holds true for baseball. Both are down from the previous high of 16, which was vastly popular with teams not having winning records, but still making it into the tournaments. Lower seeds didn’t mind where they were placed, only that they received bids.

But that doesn’t mean that it meant state championships for the lower seeds that were able to extend their seasons.

In 2012, Lovington’s girls became the first to win state when it did so as a 12th seed in 2012 against defending champion Santa Fe Indian School in the 4A basketball final. In 6A, both 12th seeded Rio Rancho and 11th seed Albuquerque Volcano Vista became state champions the past two years.

Then there was the St. Michael’s girls in 3A basketball in 2011 coming in as a 14th seed and upsetting Las Vegas Robertson in the opening round of state.

The NMAA also ruled on continuing with districts instead of making a change to conferences. That is the one constant that remains.

It voted unanimously to approve the district model as the means by which the organization’s classification and alignment committee will use to distribute schools in each class.

The board also approved the enrollment figure cutoff for each class in football and all other sports, respectively, that will take place in the 2018-19 school year, and put aside action on the question of keeping district volleyball and basketball tournaments.

It also declined to do anything at this time on reducing the maximum amount of regular-season games schools can schedule for each sport

The classification and alignment play will be unveiled in November after the 40-day enrollment figures for all NMAA members are released. Appeals by schools regarding the plan will likely be heard in late November or early December.

As for turning the basketball and baseball tournaments into 12-team brackets, it will eliminate 20 total contests from the state tourney schedule, and that doesn’t include the elimination of an entire class (6A) following   what the board agreed on in February to go back to five classes.


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