Sports leaders remain hard at work as they look toward restarting athletics after the COVID-19 outbreak, including their ongoing relationship with the federal government.
Members of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force had a conference call Tuesday with representatives of nearly two dozen sports entities about athletics’ role in reopening the United States following the pandemic. Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma, a member of the task force, highlighted the importance of seeking creative ways to play sports “while keeping the athletes, coaches, staff and fans safe,” according to ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren.
Leagues that participated in Tuesday’s call include (but are not limited to) Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, WNBA, NHL, PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, NCAA, College Football Playoff, National Women’s Soccer League, NASCAR, PGA of America, the Masters Tournament and the United States Tennis Association, among others.
“We learned that there were likely going to be a lot more tests available, both the antibody tests and point of contact tests, which was a good thing for all of the pro guys and colleges,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said of the call, per VanHaaren.
“They said the number of tests was going to go up dramatically in the coming months,” he noted. “They thought we were going to have the necessary tests to do what we needed to do.”
The NBA was the first league to indefinitely suspend its season March 11 after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. Several other leagues — including the NHL, MLS and PGA — quickly followed suit and currently are assessing if and when they might resume.
Other leagues — like MLB, the NFL and WNBA — are awaiting the proper time to begin their respective seasons.
For now, however, this certainly is a positive step in the right direction, albeit small.