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WNBA set to begin season in late July: Here’s what to know

Plan, location and player opt outs

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks at a news conference before Game 1 of basketball's WNBA Finals between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics, in Washington. The WNBA has announced plans to play a reduced season, with a 22-game schedule that would begin in late July without fans in attendance. Theres a lot to do between now and the tip of the season, now that weve selected IMG Academy as the location to play, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a phone interview June 2020.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks at a news conference before Game 1 of basketball's WNBA Finals between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics, in Washington. The WNBA has announced plans to play a reduced season, with a 22-game schedule that would begin in late July without fans in attendance. Theres a lot to do between now and the tip of the season, now that weve selected IMG Academy as the location to play, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a phone interview June 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – Beginning in late July, IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida will be the home for each of the WNBA’s 12 teams and serve as a single site for training camp, games and housing, according to the league.

The original season was set to begin in late May but due to the pandemic it was put on hold, which cost each team 14 games.

Revised season plan

The newly formatted 2020 WNBA season will be highlighted by a competitive schedule of 22 regular-season games followed by a traditional playoff format.

With the pandemic, the league and players will continue to review the appropriate health and safety protocols and make necessary changes prior to arriving on site, training camp and throughout the season when it begins.

“We will continue to consult with medical experts and public health officials as well as players, team owners and other stakeholders as we move forward with our execution plan. And, despite the disruption caused by the global pandemic to our 2020 season, the WNBA and its Board of Governors believe strongly in supporting and valuing the elite women athletes who play in the WNBA and therefore, players will receive their full pay and benefits during the 2020 season,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

IMG Academy is home to some of the premier preparatory school talent. It has produced NBA players such as Afernee Simmons of the Portland Trailblazers and others.

“As home to some of the world’s leading athletes, coaches and performance experts, IMG Academy is thrilled to partner with the top basketball players in the world and the entire WNBA family,” said Tim Pernetti, Executive Vice President, IMG Events & Media. “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.”

Player opt-outs

With the coronavirus and protesting of racial injustice, many of the players in a majority Black league have had to make tough decisions to opt out the season.

Maya Moore, Natasha Cloud and Renee Montgomery are among players who have decided to sit out this season due to the need for advocacy on the issues of racial injustice.

Jonquel Jones and Latoya Sanders are sitting out due to concerns of the coronavirus and keeping their families healthy.


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