College players will need to opt-in to upcoming WNBA draft

Sports

FILE – In this Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, file photo, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert answers questions about a postponed game between the Seattle Storm and the Minnesota Lynx after Game 1 of a WNBA basketball semifinal round playoff game between the Connecticut Sun and the Las Vegas Aces, in Bradenton, Fla. The WNBA and the Players’ Association have agreed to an opt-in process for this season’s draft, the league confirmed to The Associated Press, late Sunday, March 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA and the Players’ Association have agreed to an opt-in process for this season’s draft, the league confirmed to The Associated Press on Sunday night.

Every eligible player who would like to make themselves available for the draft, which is expected to be held in April, must renounce their remaining intercollegiate eligibility.

A player who wishes to opt-in must email the league no later than April 1. If a player is competing in the Final Four, the player has up to 48 hours after her last game finishes to let the league know if she plans on entering the draft.

In the past, players who have run out of college eligibility are automatically entered into the draft. This became more of an issue this season when all the players were granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While this is a new situation in the WNBA, it’s unclear what the NCAA will do as far as allowing players to pull out of the draft. The organization does have a deadline for men’s basketball players to pull out of the draft.

The move doesn’t change the strict rules for underclassmen to enter the draft. Texas center Charli Collier, who is a third-year junior, announced on social media her intent to forgo her remaining eligibility and enter the draft. Collier will turn 22 in September, so she is draft-eligible.

The Longhorns star will play in the Big 12 Tournament next week, as well as potentially the NCAA Tournament. She averaged nearly 21 points and 12.2 rebounds this season for the team.

Collier had 17 double-doubles this season and has scored in double figures in all but two games— against Baylor and West Virginia.

The 6-foot-5 center is projected to be one of the top picks in the draft. The Dallas Wings hold both the first and second pick in the upcoming draft.

The NBA implemented similar rules, making players opt-in for the draft.

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More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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