To date, the coronavirus hasn’t caused the cancellation of any parts of the NFL’s calendar, but that doesn’t mean that the league isn’t watching and closely monitoring the outbreak.
COVID-19 has 116,000 reported illnesses globally, with fears over the illness causing the cancellation of the Ivy League’s basketball tournament. In addition, the media is now no longer able to conduct interviews in the locker room in an effort to combat the spreading of coronavirus.
In the United States, there are now over 700 reports of the virus and 10 deaths.
The NFL, while still five months away from training camp and preseason, still has been tracking coronavirus. The NFL Draft, scheduled next month in Las Vegas, routinely draws massive crowds. It has been speculated that the event could possibly be closed to the public due to fears of the outbreak spreading among the hundreds of thousands expected to attend.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s the executive vice president of football operations, spoke to SportsIllustrated.com about the league’s monitoring and tracking of coronavirus. He was honored this past weekend by the Maxwell Football Club, which held its annual award gala at the Tropicana Atlantic City.
Vincent said the NFL's effort includes communication with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as ongoing discussions with individual teams and monitoring.
“We’re keeping all – as we get information from the CDC – we’re keeping all employees abreast of what we hear," Vincent said. "Our chief medical officer is following this. We’re just keeping staff members informed, clubs informed. As they get information, we get information, we share. Just making we’re sure following.”
In Italy, Serie A, the top division of Italian soccer, is playing games in empty stadiums as fans have been banned from attending matches. At one point, there was some speculation that this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo could be cancelled or postponed due to the virus.
Vincent was clear when asked if the NFL is preparing to possibly follow the same standard and consider playing games behind closed doors and with no crowds.
“Not at this point, no,” Vincent said.