Top medical officials from major U.S. sports leagues and entities spoke on a Tuesday conference call with White House Coronavirus Task Force members, according to USA Today Sports and ESPN.
The purpose of the discussion reportedly was a look at how sports might fit into President Donald Trump’s plan to restart the economy when the COVID-19 pandemic eases.
Per ESPN, the call included representatives of Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, the WNBA, the NHL, the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, the NCAA, the College Football Playoff (CFP), the National Women’s Soccer League, NASCAR, the PGA of America, the Masters Tournament and the United States Tennis Association.
USA Today’s list of participants also included the U.S. Olympic Committee and entities representing horse racing and the Big 3 basketball league.
Seema Verma, a White House COVID-19 task force member who heads the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, said on the call that the safety of athletes, coaches, staff and fans is of paramount importance, according to ESPN. She added that the administration is in favor of having sports restart only when health information indicates it can be done safely.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, one of the CFP representatives on the call, said to ESPN, “They just told us what they knew, and told us they were anxious to help in any way they could. We learned that there were likely going to be a lot more (COVID-19) tests available, both the antibody tests and point of contact tests, which was a good thing for all of the pro guys and colleges.
“They said the number of tests was going to go up dramatically in the coming months. They thought we were going to have the necessary tests to do what we needed to do.”
CFP executive director Bill Hancock, who also was on the call, texted to USA Today, “It was helpful to hear about possible conditions and circumstances to be considered when sports resume.”
The first major U.S. sporting events currently scheduled are UFC 249, now slated to be contested behind closed doors on May 9 in Jacksonville, Fla., and the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge, due to be held June 11-14 in Fort Worth, Texas, with no fans at Colonial Country Club.
—Field Level Media