In following the precedent set across all major sports, the NFL has decided to cancel its annual meeting. It was originally scheduled for March 29th through April 1st, but its business will now be looped in with the spring meeting, which is set for May 19th and 20th.
Additionally, initial talks have begun regarding the free agency process as well as the NFL Draft process. Is this the sports’ Armageddon? One would think so, but at the end of the day, the safety of the athletes, coaches, employees, and the general public is of the utmost importance and unfortunately, this was a decision that had to be made by Roger Goodell due to the rising fear of the spread of the COVID-19.
However, the NFL did not move back the beginning of the new league year, which is Wednesday, March 18th at 4:00 PM eastern time. Luckily for the NFL, this did not occur for them in-season and they will have plenty of time to allow this COVID-19 pandemic to take its course. At this point, plans for free agency have not changed and the draft has not been rescheduled, but one would assume those will get pushed back as well if the virus keeps up at the pace.
Events postponed due to COVID-19 include the Inaugural HBCU Combine and the Regional Combine Invitational, as both events were set to take place on March 27th and conclude on March 29th. This is a very tough blow for some athletes that were already facing an uphill battle to get their NFL opportunity. At this point, the safety of the players and staff would be compromised to run any sort of pro day or combine event with players flying in from all over the country.
Sports have always been there for us when chaos ensues in this country; they bring us together. But at this moment, there is no safe way for them to go on until we as a society have more answers and an eventual cure.