SAN JOSE, CA – OCTOBER 24: San Jose State’s football warms up for their first game of the season against Air Force, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, at CEFCU Stadium in San Jose, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
A health order in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, will prevent the San Jose State football from traveling to Albuquerque for a game on Saturday, but it won’t stop the University of New Mexico from flying to play the Spartans in the Bay Area.
A University of New Mexico spokesperson said Tuesday that the Lobos have received clearance from state health officials to play in San Jose because “California is considered a ‘green’ state and as such, we would not have to 14-day quarantine upon our return.”
The Mountain West Conference announced Monday that Saturday’s game between the Spartans and Lobos would be moved from the University of New Mexico to San Jose’s CEFCU Stadium.
A conference news release cited “the continued prevalence of the COVID-19 virus in Bernalillo County,” as the rationale for the relocation of Saturday’s game, but that did not explain why the Lobos will be allowed to play this week after their opening game scheduled for Oct. 24 at Colorado State was canceled.
According to an executive order signed by New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, any travelers entering New Mexico coming from a state with a coronavirus test positivity rate “greater than or equal to 5% over a seven-day rolling average” must quarantine for 14 days.
Data provided by the California Department of Public Health shows the seven-day test positivity rate in the state is 3.2%.
The Spartans are not allowed to play in New Mexico this weekend because a state health order restricts the Lobos from hosting games in Albuquerque unless the 14-day average daily case count for Bernalillo County is fewer than eight per 100,000 and the test positivity rate is under five percent for 14 days prior to the game.
The most recent data provided by the New Mexico Department of Health shows there are 14.10 cases per 100,000 residents in Bernalillo County.
California and Hawaii are the only states with a “green” designation west of New York, so much of the Lobos’ Mountain West schedule remains in flux.
Aside from needing to schedule a trip on short notice to San Jose, the Lobos football team must also adhere to the regulations specified in the mandatory directive for collegiate and professional athletics created by Santa Clara County public health officials.
According to local guidelines, “any team visiting Santa Clara County for a competition must test and provide results for all athletes and personnel who will be traveling to the county within 48 hours prior to the competition.” All coronavirus tests must be PCR tests and results must be provided to a San Jose State official.
Santa Clara County health officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to whether they were consulted before Saturday’s game was moved from New Mexico to San Jose, but San Jose State athletic director Marie Tuite said Monday the county’s mandatory directive for collegiate athletics would not require the Spartans to receive approval.
“We have the mandate,” Tuite said. “It’s pretty clear. Santa Clara County directive is simply what we’re following.”
With Saturday’s game now set to take place in San Jose, the Spartans are scheduled to play six of their seven remaining games in California. San Jose State’s only out-of-state trip is scheduled for Nov. 28 in Idaho against the Boise State Broncos.