The talks surrounding the start of the 2020 WNBA season are getting more serious.
Last Wednesday, Kareem Copeland of The Washington Post revealed a lot of what has been going through the mind of commissioner Cathy Engelbert with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of the league’s season, which was supposed to start on May 15. It has been over two weeks since that date has passed, but, according to Engelbert, there is real hope that there will be a 2020 season.
It may not be for a while, though, and it will almost definitely take place without any fans in attendance.
Things for the league to consider:
- The NBA has talked about re-starting at one neutral site in Florida. Will the WNBA follow suit? If so, will it be in a WNBA city or at a neutral site?
- Can the full 36 games (up two from last year) be played?
- The logistics of testing and retesting all players for the coronavirus throughout the season is a top priority. What will that process look like?
- A plan is needed for if one or more players tests positive midseason. What might that protocol look like without stopping play?
- The fact that this needs to be a one-step-at-a-time process, which began with the players getting paid on Monday, is being respected.
Of her priorities: regarding starting the 2020 season, Engelbert said:
You’re always evaluating the environment [players] are in versus the environment you can provide them. ... We’re working hard to have a very competitive season with competitive playoffs. Those are kind of two must-haves from my perspective to keep the momentum going.
Keeping the growth of the WNBA moving in the right direction is ever-important this year after an eight-year collective bargaining agreement was reached on Jan. 14 that made positive and unprecedented changes to the league. Since then, players and fans have been looking forward to seeing that plan in action.
Swish Appeal editor-in-chief Tamryn Spruill recently spoke to Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Phoenix Mercury about the momentum, and Diggins-Smith seemed optimistic:
Our game is continuing to grow, what women are doing, evolving as athletes — it’s growing every day. So, it’s in great hands, and I don’t suspect people will have to wait too long to watch us play (again). I’m not worried about the momentum at all because the level of play is so high. And the first thing you’ve got to have is talent, and that’s what we do have in this league. I’m excited about the possibilities, new opportunities, and obviously, I’m excited about competing.