The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Former SEC athletes playing in new softball league

150 days ago
SEC Staff
Photo: SEC Staff

The 2020 season of the Athletes Unlimited softball league is slated to begin on August 29 at the Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Chicago, Ill. and conclude on September 29. Athletes Unlimited partnered with CBS Sports Network and ESPN to broadcast all games live on their platforms. Athletes Unlimited will provide a virtual fan experience that will allow fans to be part of the action during every game. Viewers can download a Watch Party Kit, which will include family activities and a scorecard, as well as access to virtual autograph sessions with players.

The First Pitch program will feature celebrities and local heroes throwing out the first pitch from home. Confirmed participants include tennis icon Billie Jean King, Academy Award winner Natalie Portman, NAACP President Sherrilyn Ifill, Illinois State Senator Tammy Duckworth, US National Team softball players Natasha Watley and Jennie Finch, and Good Morning America broadcast journalist Amy Robach.

The Athletes Unlimited scoring system will feature a range of scoring innovations, allocating points to the winner of each inning as well as to the winner of the game overall. It will also allocate points to individual players based on offensive plays and their degree of impact on the game. This means even the losing team has a chance to earn points, and a player on a losing team is still rewarded. Individual athletes earn points - which translates to bonus compensation - based on the sum of their Win Points, MVP Points, and Individual Points.

Athletes Unlimited has eliminated team owners, making the athletes as the decision makers and stakeholders in the league. Every week, each roster will be redrafted, producing greater team parity and highlighting individual parity. The top four athletes on the preceding week's leaderboard are the captains of Team 1 through Team 4. The league consists of 56 athletes, with each team comprising of 13 athletes in the following positions: three pitchers, two catchers, two middle infielders, two corner infielders, three outfielders, and one flex/bench player. Four of the 56 athletes are not drafted onto a team.

Athletes Unlimited has partnered with Wolfpack Endeavor to launch Athletes+, a next generation professional education and career exploration enrichment program for athletes. Athletes Unlimited's partners will help athletes leverage their skills and passions off the field. Priorities include leadership, career exploration and business acumen development. Wolfpack Endeavor, co-founded by World Champion soccer player Abby Wambach, has led progressive leadership seminars for women executives from Fortune 500 companies and will bring their proven curriculum to Athletes Unlimited.

Athletes will also participate in several civic leadership initiatives as part of Athletes Unlimited's mission to showcase and elevate them as role models for the next generation of athletes and fans. The program will include a partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), voter engagement programming as part of Rally the Vote, and an Athletes Causes program that will provide funding to charities of the players' choosing equal to 50% of their season bonus. The Athletes Causes program is powered by Give Lively and includes 26 player-selected community organizations.

Name Position School Charity
Haylie McCleney Outfield Alabama (2013-2016) The Out Foundation
Kelly Barnhill Pitcher Florida (2016-2019) Humane Society of the United States
Nicole DeWitt Infield Florida (2015-2018) Jill's House
Michelle Moultrie Outfield Florida (2009-2012) Kim's Open Door
Aubree Munro Catcher Florida (2013-2016) St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Aleshia Ocasio Pitcher Florida (2015-2018) NAACP LDF
Jordan Roberts Catcher Florida (2017-2020) LUV Michael
Kelsey Stewart Infield Florida (2013-2016) InterAction
Megan Wiggins Outfield Georgia (2008-2011) The Out Foundation
AJ Andrews Outfield LSU (2012-2015) Awareness Ties
Sahvanna Jaquish Catcher LSU (2014-2017) Wigs for Kids
Amanda Sanchez Infield LSU (2019) American Cancer Society
Kylan Becker Outfield Ole Miss (2016-2019) CURE Childhood Cancer
Emily Crane Outfield Missouri (2013-2016) Step Up For Mental Health
Sami Fagan Infield Missouri (2014-2016) Concussion Legacy Foundation
Aubrey Leach Infield Tennessee (2016-2019) Susan G. Komen
Tori Vidales Infield Texas A&M (2015-2018) Women In Sports Tech