Why AU Basketball Will Be Great for Women’s Hoops
This league’s potential is unlimited (sorry, couldn’t resist).
It’s been a long, long wait, but the first ever Athletes Unlimited Basketball season is almost here. Headlined by numerous WNBA players, this league promises a whopping thirty games, all played in Las Vegas, Nevada. The AU model is unusual in a lot of ways, which might make basketball fans a bit unsure about what it’ll bring to the table. But make no mistake: this upcoming league has a lot to offer to the sport. Here are a few of the reasons why Athletes Unlimited’s new endeavor will be a huge boon for women’s basketball.
A Much Better Offseason
Many WNBA players opt to head overseas during the offseason. While this practice lets them earn extra cash, it also comes with language barriers and few opportunities to rest, not to mention extreme homesickness. “You realize how much you miss when you’re overseas,” said Elizabeth Williams of the Atlanta Dream. “Being away from family and friends for an extended period of time is tough. It’s a sacrifice.”
With Athletes Unlimited’s new league, this sacrifice may not even be necessary; the upcoming season is slated to last five weeks, meaning that players can train within the U.S. and have plenty of time to recuperate before the WNBA season starts again. Plus, the pay is incredibly good, and outweighs the amount that some athletes typically earn from their offseason exploits.
A Lack of Ownership
The fact that most of the media coverage dedicated to women’s sports focuses more on the owners than the players is incredibly frustrating. For every article written about the teams themselves, one can count on finding at least five others outlining controversy surrounding those at the very top. However, the minds behind Athletes Unlimited eliminated the concept of franchise owners altogether in an effort to lend more agency to the players (more on that later…), and to ensure that the focus remains on the competitors rather than any tomfoolery taking place off the field.
More Player Power
This benefit pretty much goes without saying. Players competing for individual honors rather than team glories? College athletes who couldn’t crack it in the WNBA getting a chance to prove themselves in another league? Athletes being allowed to raise money for a charity of their choice?
Yeah, this league is gonna be great.