Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a nearly unanimous recommendation from its panel of general managers, the National Football League is moving ahead as scheduled with the 2020 draft according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini.
The league’s general manager subcommittee reportedly voted 6-1 to approve a recommendation that the draft — scheduled to be held April 23-25 — be delayed due to teams’ difficulties in preparing for the event.
The reported concerns include whether teams will have enough time for player physicals, psychological testing and gathering further information about players, especially those that did not attend the NFL scouting combine. Teams are already trying to navigate the surreal situation, as documented by Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm.
"I think a lot of owners aren't sold on keeping it on schedule," one league source said. "Of course the power owners are calling the shots. Plus, add to the fact that April is going to be the toughest month with this virus. It's really a poor look."
If the draft is held at scheduled, it figures to garner big-time ratings in a sports-starved landscape.
NFL draft reportedly moved out of Las Vegas amid coronavirus pandemic
The draft had previously been scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, just in time for the arrival of the Las Vegas Raiders, but those plans were obviously not happening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, the league is reportedly planning to move the draft out of Vegas and into a studio, with cut-ins from team headquarters or wherever else executives will be operating.
NFL instructs teams to close all facilities
Another concern is that the coronavirus and its restrictions are hitting the areas of certain teams more than others, though the NFL moved to level the playing field on Tuesday.
The NFL instructed teams to close all facilities by 6 p.m. on Wednesday with limited exceptions until April 8, according to Tom Pelissero.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to clubs tonight, saying all club facilities will close at 6 p.m. Wednesday, with limited exceptions, per sources. The league will reassess April 8 with advice from experts.
So NFL teams, like many others, will now #stayathome.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 25, 2020
While many teams were already doing work from home, this move should carry the duel benefits of added safety as the coronavirus spreads and stopping teams that hadn’t close facilities from having an advantage.
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