The spread of the swine flu has affected high school sports in two more states, with New Mexico postponing athletic events and Florida granting athletes pulled from a state track championship the chance to compete in a separate meet later.

Also on Monday, South American soccer’s governing body suspended Chivas defender Hector Reynoso from the Copa Libertadores for pretending to cough and spit in an opponent’s face as if he were trying to spread the disease.

The swine flu outbreak had already forced the cancellation or postponement of sporting events across the country last week, affecting everything from prep contests in Texas and Alabama to a college baseball road trip in Delaware.

This week, Florida’s Hillsborough County School District closed Freedom High School in Tampa and two middle schools because students from those schools are among the five suspected cases of swine flu in the county. None of the cases has been confirmed.

Freedom High’s athletic director decided to cancel all sporting events, including participation by about 10 athletes in the 3A state track meet in Orlando on Friday.

The Florida High School Athletic Association said that athletes who miss the state meet because of swine flu concerns would be allowed to compete in a makeup meet on May 16. Their results would be compared with those logged during Friday’s 3A meet.

“I think it’s a terrible decision,” said Todd Wiseman, whose son Trent is a senior pole vaulter at Freedom who qualified for the 3A meet. “Everyone needs to compete together. That’s what competition is about.”

Wiseman said he thinks Freedom’s athletes should be tested for the disease and allowed to compete if the results are negative.

Confirmation of New Mexico’s first case of swine flu over the weekend triggered a one-week closure of 15 schools and prompted the New Mexico Activities Association board of directors to suspend athletic events statewide for one week.

The decision affects district and state championships in baseball, softball, track and field, golf and tennis, as well as organized team practices. Coaches who violate the order are subject to a $1,000 fine and one-year probation.

“Our board of directors felt it was only fair to suspend the activities because athletes at affected schools cannot practice,” NMAA spokesman Robert Zayas said.

Reynoso, the Chivas defender, is from Mexico, where the swine flu outbreak has killed more than 20 people. He was given 72 hours to appeal the suspension.

AP-ES-05-04-09 1816EDT

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