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The WNBA announced Friday training camp and the start of the regular season will be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought sports to a grinding halt.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement the league made the decision based on the latest CDC guidelines to continue social distancing at least through April 30.
“As developments continue to emerge around the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extension of the social distancing guidelines in the United States through April 30, the WNBA will postpone the start of its training camps and tip of the regular season originally scheduled for May 15,” Engelbert said. “While the league continues to use this time to conduct scenario-planning regarding new start dates and innovative formats, our guiding principle will continue to be the health and safety of the players, fans and employees.”
The league’s annual draft is still set to take place April 17 but will be conducted virtually. Some of the top prospects this year include Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, Baylor’s Lauren Cox, Connecticut’s Megan Walker and Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter.
“This virtual draft allows players who have worked so hard to have their dreams realized when they hear their names called and provides teams the opportunity to build their rosters in anticipation of the day that we are able to move forward with our season,” Engelbert said.
“We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to our players, fans, and all of those in the community impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are grateful to those selfless health care workers and first responders who work tirelessly on the front lines.”
Engelbert didn’t specify a timeline as to when they will determine restarting operations.