As the coronavirus plays itself out, professional sports leagues are changing protocols and rules until it’s safe to take the field again. Due to the league being in off-season mode, the NFL and its players’ union have agreed on how they will conduct the off-season functions while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hold everyone on lockdown.

The National Football League and The NFL Players Association have mutually reached an agreement on a voluntary off-season program set to begin on April 20, Although no on-field work is allowed, the virtual period of the program can begin next week until all 32 club facilities can reopen.

“Both our Executive committee and Board of Player Reps have voted unanimously to approve a virtual off-season program up until the start of training camp,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “We will be sending out all the details and setting up calls with players and agents for how this will work shortly.”

Club facilities will open in accordance with strict NFL protocols and federal, state, and local rules and regulations. The virtual period will consist of three consecutive weeks of classroom instruction, workouts, and non-football educational programs using videoconferencing technology. An extra voluntary veteran camp will be available for new coaches, with the virtual period ending no later than May 15.

NFL teams will be allowed to send players workout equipment and monitoring devices such as kettle-bells, resistance bands, Apple watches, etc. The cost for the equipment and/or devices isn’t allowed to exceed $1,500 for any individual player.

If club facilities do not reopen during this off-season program, which concludes June 26, there will be an additional option for teams. Teams can conduct a mandatory veteran mini-camp, which can be done virtually, but with limits of two hours of classroom time and two hours of workout time.

As long as the restrictions are in place, this plan provides the NFL’s 32 team franchises with guidelines and a framework within which they can plan and conduct off-season programs.

The plan was approved Monday via a vote between the NFLPA and NFL management council.

-Black Enterprise