One of the bigger stories, that has happened recently in women’s basketball, is the surprising and curt decision by Diamond DeShields. The Tennessee star recently decided to forgo her last year of eligibility, and pursue playing professional basketball. However, this past April, DeShields stated that she would be returning to the Lady Vols.
This led to a treasure trove of questions regarding this sudden change of heart. We addressed those inquiries here.
But, another looming question regarding DeShields: Is she eligible to play in the WNBA this year? No, multiple league sources told Swish Appeal. If the ex-Tennessee star wants to play in the WNBA, she will have to wait until next year, according to sources.
One reason: the WNBA doesn’t have a supplemental draft. The supplemental draft is something the NFL has every year for prospects, that become eligible under unique circumstances.
Firstly, note the Supplemental Draft is a process designed to allow individuals, who did not enter April’s initial draft, entry into the league. Players typically go the route of entering the Supplemental Draft for special or unideal circumstances. Often the cause is underclassmen have not declared their intent to gain early entry into the league in order to be an applicant in April’s draft prior to the listed deadline to do so — and have been ruled ineligible for the forthcoming college football season. Reasons for being ruled ineligible are generally due to academic infraction or disciplinary consequence.
On NFL.com, the NFL had this to say about the Supplemental Draft:
In July, the league may hold one supplemental draft for players whose eligibility has changed since the NFL Draft. A player may not bypass the NFL Draft to be eligible for the supplemental draft.
The last sentence is probably the most significant point, as I was told, that this is a reason why she’s not eligible. Because it could set a dangerous precedent, in which players and agents would try and usurp the WNBA Draft, in order to avoid playing for certain teams.