WNBA to Delay Training Camps, Regular Season Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Another sport is putting its season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, the WNBA announced that it would be delaying the start of training camps and the regular season because of COVID-19. The league was scheduled to start regular-season play on May 15, but with the social distancing guidelines being extended until the end of April, starting the season on time would have been a challenge.

"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," the league said in a statement. "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.

"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 font lines," the statement concluded.

The good news for WNBA fans is the draft will go on as scheduled, which will take place on April 17. This will be a virtual draft and it will air on ESPN starting at 7 p.m.

"The prospects deserve to be drafted, and this is part of their dream," WNBA Commissioner CathyEngelbert said, per ESPN. "It was a collective decision made by the league, in consultation with the teams. We felt it was really important to celebrate and recognize their hard work and accomplishment.

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"While it's premature to say what the circumstances will be for training camp and the tip of the season, we're scenario-planning around the start of the season. And part of that is we have to have a draft. The teams are strategizing about their rosters, and the draft is also an important part of that."

There are over 1 million cases of coronavirus in the world, and the U.S. has the most cases. WNBA player Sydney Wiese is the first in the league to test positive for the disease, but she's expected to make a full recovery.