Due to the coronavirus pendemic, the 2020 National Football League draft will proceed remotely next month after the NFL cancelled the public event set for Las Vegas. The announcement was issued in a letter on Thursday from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to all 32 US football teams.
“The draft can serve a very positive purpose for our clubs, our fans, and the country at large, and many of you have agreed,” wrote Goodell.
The NFL draft is one of the biggest sporting events in the US; with almost 500,000 fans attending last year’s draft in Nashville. All 32 teams take part, recruiting football talent from US colleges. However, with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, changes to the format had to be made.
The draft will now be held on 23-25 April in a television studio, with players interviewed via video conferencing. No prospects will be allowed to meet physically with clubs as part of the evaluation process. However, some coaches have reportedly expressed their displeasure with the decision, preferring that the draft be pushed back, citing the limitations on meeting with prospective players and being able to see them work out.
“Everyone recognizes that public health conditions are highly uncertain and there is no assurance that we can select a different date and be confident that conditions will be significantly more favorable than they are today,” wrote Goodell. “All clubs should now be doing the necessary planning to conduct draft operations in a location outside of your facility, with a limited number of people present, and with sufficient technology resources to allow you to communicate internally, with other clubs, and with draft headquarters.”