Last Saturday night, 12,307 fans packed the Pan American Center to watch the Aggies knock off Grand Canyon in their annual Whiteout game. The crowd was lively, loud, and into the game. Apparently, some of them also did not adhere to the mask wearing policy that the state has implemented. Now, school officials have taken drastic actions to make sure that everyone is obeying the rules.

NMSU announced yesterday that they will not allow food or beverages to be sold at the Pan Am Center for the next two home games. This policy also includes the outdoor beer garden as well as the Barbara Hubbard Room, where donors are treated to a pregame meal. University Chancellor Dan Arvizu explained his decision in a letter to the NMSU community and their fans.

NMSU.
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The decision by Chancellor Arvizu will hurt home attendance at Aggies basketball games. Concession sales is a big part of the live sports experience and plenty of fans will chose to stay home and watch games on TV or online rather than in person. There are also other fans who need to drink water for medical reasons and they might not be able to spend two to three hours in an arena wearing a mask without any hydration.

NMSU is not the first college or university to do this at their basketball games. Duke and Virginia are a pair of ACC schools that have also banned food and beverage sales as well as Ohio State and Boise State.

It is a shame because the Aggies are 17-3 and enjoying another terrific season under head coach Chris Jans. They are 6-1 in the WAC and will be hosting Seattle University Saturday night for first place in the conference. The Red Hawks are 17-4 this season including a perfect 8-0 in the WAC. That game should be sold out but now you wonder how many fans will come out to support the Aggies with the new mask mandate in place. Maybe Director of Athletics Mario Moccia and his staff can figure out a way to pull another rabbit out of their hat and still pack the Pan Am Center for the most important home game of the regular season.

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