Rule Changes in Effect for 2018 WNBA Season

The WNBA announced on Thursday that the Board of Governors have approved four rule changes that will take place at the beginning of the 2018 season.

The WNBA’s Competition Committee suggested the rule changes at their meeting in early November. The new changes apply to the WNBA Draft, selection of All-Star Game coaches, administration of free-throws and concussion protocol.

The new rule changes are as follows:

WNBA Draft: 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 Coaches: 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.

Concussion Protocol 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.