Early Friday morning, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert released the following statement pertaining to the start of the WNBA season, which was originally scheduled for May 15:
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. 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.
In the meantime, the league and our teams remain focused on preparing for the upcoming virtual WNBA Draft 2020 presented by State Farm on April 17. Top prospects will take part remotely live on ESPN with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET. 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.
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.
As the press release states, the United States extending it’s social distancing guidelines through the end of April really leaves many leagues, the WNBA included, with very few options other than pushing everything back and seeing what happens over the next couple of weeks. The WNBA did confirm that the league’s virtual draft, scheduled for April 17, is still planned as scheduled.
Shortly after the WNBA’s announcement, the Minnesota Lynx released their own statement:
The Lynx fully support the WNBA’s decision today to postpone the start of the upcoming WNBA season. The safety of our fans, players and staff is of the utmost importance. Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by the pandemic and we thank those who are working tirelessly to fight the coronavirus.
We look forward to welcoming our newest additions to the Lynx family following the WNBA Draft 2020 presented by State Farm on April 17th at 6pm CT on ESPN. Minnesota has the sixth and 16th overall selection in this year’s draft.
None of this is shocking news, but its still disappointing nonetheless. With the WNBA draft still on track for mid-April, the Lynx should be able to add some quality pieces to their roster and build upon what has been a difficult offseason for the team thus far.
We’ll have more Lynx coverage coming up as we draw closer to draft night on April 17.