The W.N.B.A. has ruled that the Las Vegas Aces will forfeit their game against the Washington Mystics that was canceled Friday night when the Aces players decided not to play because of concerns about their health and safety after 26 hours of travel.
The league announced its decision Tuesday in a one-sentence statement.
There was little precedent for the decision because the W.N.B.A. had never had a game canceled before. There have been a handful of instances over the past few decades in major sports in which teams have been forced to forfeit.
Most of those occurred because of fan involvement like the Chicago White Sox’ infamous Disco Demolition Night in 1979 when the field was so damaged the second game of a doubleheader couldn’t be played.
The Aces needed nearly 26 hours to travel to Washington from Las Vegas after flight delays and cancellations Friday. By the time the team reached its hotel it was 3:45 p.m. — about four hours before the scheduled tip. The Aces talked things over and spoke by phone with the union Friday. They called the league to say they did not want to play.
Making the game up later in the season would have been difficult because of the compact schedule. The two teams play virtually every other day over the next two weeks before the regular season ends Aug. 19.
The Aces are in ninth place and the forfeit moved them two games behind the Dallas Wings for the final playoff spot. Washington moved into a third-place tie with the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Mystics had to refund fans who had tickets for the game. As a good-will gesture they are also offering tickets to another game.