WNBA announces rules changes for 2018 season

NEW YORK – The WNBA Board of Governors approved four rules changes for the 2018 season, the league announced today.

The new rules are related to the WNBA Draft, the selection of All-Star Game coaches, the administration of free throws and the concussion protocol.

Rules changes for 2018 are as follows:

WNBA Draft: For the first time, teams will be permitted to trade first-round draft picks in successive seasons.  From Feb. 1 until the immediately succeeding draft, first-round draft picks in both the immediately succeeding draft and the next draft may be traded.

  • Prior rule: Teams were required to retain at least one first-round pick in either the immediately succeeding draft or the next draft.

Selection of All-Star Coaching Staffs: The coaching staffs of the teams with the best records in each conference following the Friday games played two weeks before the All-Star Game will serve as All-Star Game coaches.

  • Prior rule: Provided that the head coach of the prior year’s conference champion remained in that role the following season, she/he served as the All-Star head coach for her/his respective conference.

Free Throw Administration: A delay-of-game penalty will now be assessed if a free-throw shooter ventures beyond the three-point line between attempts.

Adjustment to Concussion Evaluation Process: A rule change intended to promote player health has been approved.  As a reminder, if a player is unable to shoot her free throws or participate in a jump ball due to injury, the player is not permitted to return to the game (there is an existing exception for Flagrant 2 fouls).  Beginning with the 2018 season, a new exception has been created that is consistent with NBA policy implemented prior to the 2017-18 season.  The new rule provides that if a player comes out of the game for a concussion evaluation, completes the locker room evaluation required under the WNBA Concussion Policy and is deemed not to have a concussion, she may then re-enter the game despite having not taken her free throws or participated in the jump ball.

The rule changes were recommended by the WNBA’s Competition Committee at its meeting on Nov. 7.


About the WNBA

The WNBA – which features 12 teams and is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world – is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity.  Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, support youth and family development, and inspire and empower women.  For more information on the WNBA, log on to  www.wnba.com.