A plan is in place to move forward with a WNBA season in 2020, the league announced on Monday.
The league is in the process of putting the finishing touches on a partnership with IMG Academy in Florida to host the 2020 WNBA season and playoffs.
The schedule will be reduced to 22 regular-season games with a traditional playoff format to follow.
"We are finalizing a season start plan to build on the tremendous momentum generated in the league during the offseason and have used the guiding principles of health and safety of players and essential staff to establish necessary and extensive protocols," WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said via a release. "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."
Right now, it is expected that teams will report to IMG Academy in early July for training camp with the season set to tip-off in late July. Games will be played without fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Games will be broadcasted on ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBA TV in the U.S. with a Canadian broadcast schedule expected to be released at a later date. Games could also be shown on Twitter and the league's League Pass option. More information is sure to follow.
The WNBA Players Association accepted the league's proposal for a return to play - which includes players receiving 100% of their salaries with a 77 percent voting of yes by their members.
The remaining 23% were against having a season due to health concerns and desire to focus on social justice issues, according to ESPN's Mechelle Voepel.
"On a personal level, I've dealt with the issues with the pandemic and the racial injustice issues and not being able to play basketball," Los Angeles Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike, the president of the players' executive committee told ESPN. "So I connect with the rest of the players as they sort through their own emotions as we try to figure out how to get through this as a league.
"I won't say we heard from every player, but we heard from a lot. It was a lot to take in and consider. It was a process every step of the way."
Players have received two paychecks so far but won't get additional pay should they decide not to play. The league and player's union has made it clear that efforts will be made to support anyone who chooses not to play for any reason.
The league has also made it clear that they will pay full salaries for players who need to sit the 2020 season out due to health conditions that could make them high-risk should they contract COVID-19.
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