The NFL seems intent on drafting in April, and it might be at least in part because they enjoy their monopoly on the American sports news market.
Because by the time May rolls around, there may be competition, in some fashion.
Via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the league could start “to get back to normal” in mid-May. The NBA suspended play on March 11 after Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.
“I’m proud of the NBA and the way we’ve reacted,” Cuban said in an interview with WFAA. “We’ve led the way and hopefully will lead the way out of this. No one has perfect information right now, so all decisions are tough, but if I had to guess based off the people I’ve talked to at the CDC and other places, I would say that the over-under [for the league’s return] would be June 1 and I’m taking the under.
“Hopefully by the middle of May we’re starting to get back to normal and the NBA is playing games, maybe not with fans, but we’re playing games.”
Cuban has followed up on Twitter by saying “just to clarify, everything I say is always qualified with a statement that it will depend on what doctors and scientists say. That said, Im more hopeful than i was 2 weeks ago about us being able to return and play in front of no fans prior to June 1.”
Whether the league as a whole shares is view remains to be seen, as the world is finding out all plans are suddenly day-to-day, and based first and foremost on science.
“I think we’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer and closer,” Cuban said. “Once we have a medical light at the end of the tunnel where we know what the worst case is, then OK, we can start venturing outside and being in groups of 10 instead of being by ourselves, . . . I think that’s going to happen a little bit faster than we originally expected.”
The NFL has continued its offseason business without interruption, at least in terms of free agency and the draft. Offseason programs seem unlikely because of the large gatherings of people they require. And while General Managers want to push back the April 23-25 annual selection meeting, the league doesn’t share their concerns.