WNBA announces plan to start 22-game season without fans in Florida

The WNBA has introduced plans to play a decreased season, with a 22-game schedule that may start in late July with out followers in attendance.

The league remains to be finalizing a partnership with IMG Academy in Florida to play all of the video games on the facility in Bradenton or different close by places. Gamers and workforce officers for the league’s 12 groups can be housed at IMG and maintain coaching camps there.

“There’s rather a lot to do between now and the tip of the season, now that we have chosen IMG Academy” as the placement to play, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert mentioned in a cellphone interview Monday. “My hope is the July 24 date will stick. We’ve got eventualities and plans to elevate and shift the tip of the season. It may slip to a few days later. We wish to have the suitable variety of days for coaching camp.”

Engelbert, who mentioned she had a website go to at IMG, hopes to have groups in Florida by the primary week of July to begin coaching camps. The season had been postponed indefinitely in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The WNBA would use its common playoff format, with the highest eight groups making the post-season and the primary two rounds being single-elimination. The highest two seeds would have byes till the semifinals. The playoffs would start in the course of September and finish in early October.

Groups would play one another twice within the abbreviated 22-game schedule, which the league mentioned can be launched later. The IMG facility has 4 courts, however the WNBA remains to be exploring choices to play video games at different websites within the space that could be higher for broadcasts.

Gamers to obtain full salaries

Gamers would obtain their complete salaries for the 12 months regardless of enjoying a schedule that is solely about two-thirds the size of the 36-game one which was supposed to begin Might 15.

“It was an vital message the house owners mentioned to pay the gamers 100 per cent,” Engelbert mentioned. “There are folks taking pay cuts within the nation and folks being furloughed. It was a very vital sign from the house owners and the league.”

The WNBA had loads of momentum coming from a historic collective bargaining settlement that was ratified shortly earlier than the pandemic hit.

“We all know this isn’t going to be good; it isn’t going to be best,” WNBPA Government Director Terri Jackson mentioned. “Let’s examine what we will do at this second. That is actually acceptable for what our nation wants proper now.”

The league remains to be working with medical specialists, public well being specialists and authorities officers on a complete set of tips to make sure that well being and security protocols are in place.

“We may have protocols on coming and going and who comes and goes,” Engelbert mentioned. “Protocols of a quarantine isolation whenever you get on campus. When you’re there 14 days, 21 days. These early days shall be vital.”

Paid opt-out obtainable

The commissioner mentioned gamers who’re thought of high-risk for the brand new coronavirus may decide out of enjoying this season and nonetheless earn their full salaries.

Gamers with youngsters will be capable of deliver a caregiver with them.

Jackson mentioned gamers are assured that the league may have the right security tips in place. She mentioned the union’s govt committee had a Zoom name with league medical doctors and the following step shall be an all-player name with the physicians later this week.

“These gamers will be capable of have an academic session on the decision and ask questions that they are surely centered on,” Jackson mentioned.

The league additionally introduced Monday that it’s going to work with the gamers on their dedication to social justice reform. The WNBA not too long ago mentioned it should make donations from gross sales of its “Greater Than Ball” girls’s empowerment merchandise to the Equal Justice Initiative.

Jackson mentioned the league agreed that the gamers ought to have a social justice platform to specific their views and considerations.

“This could be participant led and activation round that may be for the gamers themselves,” Jackson mentioned.

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