While the rest of the sporting world continues to be shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL is going full steam ahead with its offseason activities, formally annoucing the 2020 NFL Draft will be completely virtual.
“Clubs have been advised to prepare to conduct the 2020 Draft entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format, with club personnel in separate locations and able to communicate with one another and Draft headquarters by phone or internet,” the league said in a memo on Monday. “We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the Competition Committee and CEC, and this will confirm that clubs will conduct their draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes.”
ESPN and NFL Network are still expected to air the draft, which is scheduled for April 23-25.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell just informed clubs in a memo that club facilities will remain closed indefinitely and the league will conduct a “fully virtual” draft, with club personnel separately located in their homes. pic.twitter.com/28t2kNnLAI
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 6, 2020
The NFL will also keep its facilities closed indefinitely, as many states where teams’ reside have instituted mandatory “shelter-in-place” orders.
“All Clubs will not have access to their facilities, which is contrary to the fundamental equity principle that all clubs operate in a consistent and fair way,” the memo continued. “Moreover, we want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices. Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations outside of our offices. And after consulting with medical advisors, we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical or public health perspective, given the varying needs of clubs, the need properly to screen participants, and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face.”