The WNBA’s strict age/education policy therefore invokes substantial debate about both its legality and ethicality, not only from a traditional antitrust perspective, but also based on issues related to gender equity. Indeed, that male basketball players are allowed to enter the NBA only one year after graduating from high school, whereas female basketball players have to wait four years before entering the WNBA, highlights the extreme differences in bargaining power between American male and female athletes.
This article discusses the WNBA age/education policy from a legal, cultural, and ethical perspective. Part One of this article discusses the women’s basketball landscape in terms of sociology, race, and gender. Part Two discusses the history of women’s basketball in America, as well as the history of the WNBA and its age/education policy. Part Three explains the legal issues that underlie an antitrust challenge to the WNBA age/education policy under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Part Four discusses the likely effect on society if the courts were to overturn the WNBA age/education policy.