WNBA plans 22-game regular season at Florida prep academy

Paola Ditto
Agosto 2, 2020

A 22-game schedule, without fans, will be played, with teams reporting to the academy in July.

Voepel reported on Friday that the league's proposal includes a July 24 start date, with all games taking place at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. "We are truly looking forward to becoming the Official Home of the 2020 WNBA Season and working closely with the league in providing our best-in-class training and competition environment".

The WNBA's 2020 season, originally scheduled to tip off on May 15 and follow a 36-game regular-season schedule, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the league has managed to keep its off-season largely on track - they were the first to conduct an entirely virtual draft on April 17, kept their roster cut-down date in May and paid players their first paycheque as originally scheduled on June 1. The original May 15 start date was postponed because of the pandemic, and the normal 36-game schedule will be cut almost in half.

WNBA teams plan to report to IMG Academy in the coming weeks and start the regular season in late July after training camp. But some National Basketball Association players have expressed concern about the isolated environment and distraction from the Black Lives Matter movement. The NFL still plans to start its regular season in the fall. This is down from the 34 regular season games the league played a year ago, half at home and half away. The WNBA also committed to making social justice initiatives a focus during the season. "The WNBA opposes racism in all its forms, and George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are the latest names in a list of countless others who have been subject to police brutality that stems from the systemic oppression of Black Lives in America, and it is our collective responsibility to use our platforms to enact change", said Engelbert. Atlanta also drafted 5-9 guard Chennedy Carter out of Texas A&M with the fourth overall selection in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

The WNBA announced that players will still receive full salaries and benefits, despite the abbreviated schedule and the fact that the season will be played without fans in attendance.

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