The NFL has been saying amid the coronavirus pandemic that its plans to host the NFL draft in Las Vegas are unchanged. That is no longer feasible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines today that make clear that the draft simply can’t happen with any crowd at all. No more than 50 people are recommended in any gathering at all.
“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities,” the CDC guidelines say. “Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.
“Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”
The NFL draft can, of course, still happen. But it will have to be a glorified conference call, not an extravaganza in Las Vegas. There’s just no way even a very scaled-down draft event can happen with fewer than 50 people. ESPN and NFL Network can still turn the announcements of picks into a TV show, but as an in-person event, the draft will be scrapped.