Was It Wrong For The Commissioner To Make This Rule Change Like He Did?

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Let's say the commissioner of a dynasty league discovered that someone tanked during a few games at the end of the season (Year 2 of the league) to get a better draft pick in this year's upcoming rookie draft. There aren't any explicit anti-tanking rules and the way the rookie draft order is calculated for the upcoming draft has been posted since the league started (i.e. it has been posted and disclosed to the owners for over two years). The owner that tanked had a screenshot of a text message where he and the commissioner discussed starting inactive (bye week, injured, suspended, free agent, retired) players. The tanking owner asked if it was something he could do, and the commissioner said that "if you don't have anybody else to start, then yes, but if you just don't want to, then I don't know." The tanking owner then pointed out that the site did not prevent someone from starting inactive players, to which the commish responded "Cool. Yeah." The tanking owner understood this as a grant of permission to start such inactive players, and a pro-tanking position in general. The commissioner claims that the owner never explicitly asked about tanking, and as it turns out, the commish is actually strongly against tanking (something that was not known until now).

The commissioner collected dues for the upcoming season (the season for which the rookie draft will take place), but he did not like the fact that somebody tanked. On the other hand, the tanking owner had a screenshot of conversation where the commissioner says that the order of the draft "must" be the way that it is currently posted in the league's bylaws. However, the commissioner still decided to change the draft order regardless, because he is really anti-tanking. He changed one of the tiebreakers from total points scored by starting lineups, to total points scored by each team's optimal lineups.

For what it is worth, the tanking owner has played in leagues where tanking has occurred, specifically, leagues where teams were allowed to bench their star players in order to lose a game (to get themselves a better matchup in the first round, a better draft pick, etc.), or to bench players in order to secure a win (prevent someone from scoring negative points). However, the commissioner has never seen this tactic in 10+ years of playing. The tanking owner also believes that tanking happens in real life, but the commissioner is of the firm opinion that it does not. On top of that, the tanking owner has hard evidence that tanking happened in Year 1 of the league, but the commissioner is unaware of this.

It is also worth noting that in the final game of the season, the commissioner did spot the tanking and after a brief exchange, the tanking owner agreed to set a new lineup because, although he thought it was fair game, he just didn't want to "start any drama" among the league members. During this exchange, the tanking owner showed the commissioner the text message exchange they had about starting inactive players. After receiving the message, the commissioner said that he was fine with people starting weak lineups, just not inactive players. So maybe the commish is more anti-inactive players than he is anti-tanking. Many league members complained about the tanking owner during the last week of the season because it either affected their chances of securing a top draft slot, or their playoff hopes. Some owners are upset that it wasn't caught earlier, because other games where the owner tanked are now in the books.

The commish and vice-commish apparently agreed to create different tie-breakers for this coming season, but never updated the rulebook or disclosed such a change to the rest of the league. Even so, the commish still thought that he was perfectly within his rights to implement the unposted order now. He is really concerned with the integrity of the league.

But as of right now, there is no rule against tanking, the league has never discussed tanking, and the tanking owner thought it was fine based off of previous experiences, his own self-interest, and the text message exchange he had with the commish. The commish doesn't think an anti-tanking rule is needed, nor is one needed to tell people that they must only start active players each week.

Considering all of this, do you think the commissioner made a mistake? Was it wrong for him to unilaterally implement any "corrective" measures after dues were paid? Please explain below.
Megalodon
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Tanking is usually cause for automatic expulsion from a league. If I was the commish I would leave the draft order the same but the team would have a new owner.
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SandShark
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Teams that dont make the playoffs should be in the 'Losers Bracket' Playoffs, playing for those coveted top draft spots.........our league calls them the Chump Champ. That way the fun continues for all teams until the final weeks and tanking is penalized. If anyone plays in a Dyno that doesnt keep playing for draft spots thru the playoffs, you should highly suggest it to your league.
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Megalodon
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RayFarmer wrote:Teams that dont make the playoffs should be in the 'Losers Bracket' Playoffs, playing for those coveted top draft spots.........our league calls them the Chump Champ. That way the fun continues for all teams until the final weeks and tanking is penalized. If anyone plays in a Dyno that doesnt keep playing for draft spots thru the playoffs, you should highly suggest it to your league.

This is the simplest solution. Can't tank for a pick. I played one league for a few years that did a NBA style lottery amongst the non-playoff teams.
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Great White Shark
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I set up my 12-team league as follows:

Bottom 6 teams enter a consolation bracket where final seeding is determined by the final outcome of the bracket. Bracket winner gets first overall draft choice and follows though to the last place finisher.

Top 6 teams enter the Championship bracket with final seeding determined at the end for pick choices 7-12 (with winner getting pick choice 7)
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Mako Shark
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To answer the OP's question: yes, it was wrong for the commissioner to retroactively change rules. The draft order should go back to how it was, and any tiebreaker changes should only apply moving forward.

I actually like the way the commissioner handled it during the season, given he was against tanking, but there was no rule against it. He talked to the owner in question, the owner agreed to not tank (that one game, at least), and drama was avoided.

However, by retroactively changing how the draft order was determined, the commissioner himself has started some drama. He should chalk this current situation up to not having a clear rule or communication and fix it moving forward.
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Eddo wrote:To answer the OP's question: yes, it was wrong for the commissioner to retroactively change rules. The draft order should go back to how it was, and any tiebreaker changes should only apply moving forward.

I actually like the way the commissioner handled it during the season, given he was against tanking, but there was no rule against it. He talked to the owner in question, the owner agreed to not tank (that one game, at least), and drama was avoided.

However, by retroactively changing how the draft order was determined, the commissioner himself has started some drama. He should chalk this current situation up to not having a clear rule or communication and fix it moving forward.


Good analysis. I like it. Props to the tanking team for being a man and not wanting to start drama. It's good that he asked about the lineup beforehand too.
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Tiger Shark
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If you don't like tanking then set up the system to reward teams that play to win. In my 14-team keeper league, the winner of the bottom six team consolation bracket gets the #1 pick so you can't get the pick unless you keep trying. Same with the #2 that goes to the winner of the 11th place game. The #3 pick goes to the winner of the 13th place game. The #4 pick goes to the winner of the 7th place game in the championship bracket. The #5 pick goes to the winner of the 5th place game. The #6 pick goes to the winner of the 3rd place game. The league champion gets the 14th pick. All other draft picks are awarded to the losers according to their finish so the last place team gets the 7th pick and so on.

So while tanking could net you a top three pick provided you win that last game, it could also leave you with the 7th-9th pick if you lose that final game.

The only starting requirements are you can't leave a roster spot vacant.
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Chum
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What do you all think of owners who honestly don't think tanking is unethical? For instance, I know several people on Reddit are of that persuasion. Also if you have played in leagues where tanking is allowed, and your current league doesn't have rules against it, has never discussed it, and other clues indicate that it might be OK, then personally, it would be hard for me to fault the guy.

Would definitely need to talk with him, iron out the misunderstanding, etc..
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Me personally never been a fan of the pjay for your draft picks thing. The worst team record should get the 1.1. As far as how it was handled, I think the commysh handled it wrong and still is handling it wrong.

I understand the idea of playing for the pick , just not a fan.
Last edited by rugger48 on Fri 05.11.2018, 16:31, edited 3 times in total.
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Tiger Shark
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I personally don't have any issue with tanking. It's just another method of strategy that teams can use. The downside is that it can and does influence how other teams finish and takes away the weekly competition if you're facing a tanker. That's why our league has also gone to the "all play" format. For every issue that our league has encountered, we've come up with a solution. You just have to be creative and willing to adapt.
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JezCat wrote:I personally don't have any issue with tanking. It's just another method of strategy that teams can use. The downside is that it can and does influence how other teams finish and takes away the weekly competition if you're facing a tanker. That's why our league has also gone to the "all play" format. For every issue that our league has encountered, we've come up with a solution. You just have to be creative and willing to adapt.


True that. Hopefully you didn't retroactively implement any of the solutions though. And hopefully the commish never unilaterally made the decision right after paying dues, lol.
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the lone star wrote:On the other hand, the tanking owner had a screenshot of conversation where the commissioner says that the order of the draft "must" be the way that it is currently posted in the league's bylaws. However, the commissioner still decided to change the draft order regardless,


Everything else about this is just league preference, how-to's, and personal opinion.

This changing of the rules, however, CAN NOT happen. This commish should fire himself.

The commish should have come out and said, "Old Bob took advantage of the rules as they existed and sort of put one over on us. That's one for you, Bob. But, to ensure that other teams don't do what Bob did, we need to change some rules..."
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Great White Shark
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My leagues have rules that empower the commissioner with "the unilateral power to take actions not specified in these rules...if acting in the best interests of the league and its competition, as long as such action does not create a conflict of interest" It is not an absolute power, and can be overruled by a supermajority of owners, but it allows the commissioner to address such issues when not specifically called out in the rules.

Since the league did not have a tanking rule in place at the time, if the league does NOT have a provision like this for the commissioner, it is not clear that the commissioner should have made the change. It's not so much that it shouldn't have been done, that the commissioner should have the clearly defined power to do it before taking such an action. If he did, I'm OK with it. If he did not, the tanking owner would appear to have a beef.
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Great White Shark
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Eddo wrote:To answer the OP's question: yes, it was wrong for the commissioner to retroactively change rules. The draft order should go back to how it was, and any tiebreaker changes should only apply moving forward.

I actually like the way the commissioner handled it during the season, given he was against tanking, but there was no rule against it. He talked to the owner in question, the owner agreed to not tank (that one game, at least), and drama was avoided.

However, by retroactively changing how the draft order was determined, the commissioner himself has started some drama. He should chalk this current situation up to not having a clear rule or communication and fix it moving forward.


^this

He shouldn't retroactively change the rules, unless the whole league agrees to it, and even then it's pushing the boundaries.

I think you have to institute some rules based on what happened last year--you don't want it to happen again and have someone be willing to deal with the drama.