The Gold Coast Bulletin
New deal on the money
Record cap brings a fully pro women’s basketball league a step closer
THE WNBL has boosted its salary cap to a record high $420,000 for the 2021/22 season after a new pay deal was reached in a move that will secure the league’s future.
Basketball Australia and the Australian Basketball Players’ Association have agreed upon a total player payment (TPP) system for the next two seasons in a further step towards “a fully professional league”.
The new system provides for the highest average wage across the WNBL in recorded history, and significant increases in the mandatory minimum spend for each club.
A “Luxury Tax” for clubs who spend over the TPP will be applied, as well as a Marquee Player allowance to enable clubs to retain and obtain the best domestic talent.
Last season the Southside Flyers secured the services of controversial Opals star Liz Cambage on their way to a WNBL title.
The league has proven itself a breeding ground for players with Shyla Heal recently taken at pick eight in the WNBA draft after standout performances for the Townsville Fire.
This new total player payment system will see a salary cap ceiling of $420,000 for the 2021-22 season, with clubs set to pay no less than $336,000.
As per the CBA, the minimum player payment is $13,500 for the 2021-22 season and $15,000 for the 2022-23 season, where no less than ten rostered players are to be contracted.
The TPP also allows for players to earn additional income through player appearances over and above what is prescribed within the CBA, to help avoid the salary cap sandal which hit Super Netball club the West Coast Fever.
Players can also access scholarship and educational payments outside of the TPP.
Australian legend Lauren Jackson, Basketball Australia’s Head of Women in Basketball, said the new deal was another step forward in everyone’s collective vision for the WNBL, which is to become a fully professional league.
“The introduction of a Total Player Payment system not only signifies improved conditions for our athletes but is done in a way which is financially responsible and supports the goal of delivering equilibrium across the eight clubs to have the strongest league possible,” Jackson said.
Free Agency opened on April 7, when the eight clubs could open negotiations.
With COVID-19 still impacting upon respective state and territory health protocols and in-turn national sporting competitions, the WNBL Commission is currently developing a number of season models for the 2021-22 competition, where the plan is to return to a full 21-game regular season starting in November.
The league is working towards confirming the model by the end of June.