In real life, we have police to protect us from the “bad guys”. In the movies (and my dreams) we have super heroes. In Fantasy Football, we only have each other. I would love nothing more than for a super team to burst out of computers and handle those who choose to be corrupt. However, we do have something to help fight corruption, league by-laws.
One thing that can cause an early downfall to a league is not setting up the by-laws or taking them seriously. New owners do not think anything can go wrong, it is a fantasy right? Everything will be fine. Oh, how I wish that were true. A friend of mine was recently telling me story of how a best ball league he joined folded after the first year because of corruption. I can picture you asking me what “corruption” I’m talking about. Let me illustrate it with a true story.
Imagine you spent weeks on weeks preparing for a new start up draft. You have looked through the rules of this new best ball league and it seems pretty straight forward. Draft your team and the line-up is set for you every week. Trades and waiver wire pick-ups are allowed in this league, so not a typical MFL10. But you are confident that you will be drafting the best team and can leave it alone during the season. Part way through the season you decide to make a waiver wire claim, the only movement needed for this juggernaut you created.
Towards the end of the season you are lock for a top two finish. (Here is where the corruption comes in) There was no rule about “activity”, nothing written that you had to log in once every X amount of days or anything stating you had to make trades during the season, only that they were allowed. The fact that it looks like you are due to receive $145 without having to make moves is making the commissioner of the league furious. So, before the season is over he calls for a vote to completely change the rules and pay structure. This new structure will pay everyone else and somehow leave you with nothing. It is an easy sell for the commissioner because those owners who weren’t due any winnings just had to vote yes to the payout changes to be rewarded for their activity.
Now do you see what I’m talking about? This corrupt commissioner, knowing it was unfair and that the rightful winners would not be paid, changed the rules in their favor. Called for a vote in season and talked a majority of the owners into changing those rules so they could win something that they would otherwise not. Greed got in the way of fairness and lead to corruption. It should not come to anyone’s surprise that this league folded as soon as the league ended.
Do you also see how this can be avoided? If not, here are five By-laws that I believe need to be, or have some variation of, in every league:
-No rule changes, scoring or by-laws, will be put into effect during the season. All wanted changes can be submitted but will not be voted on until after the NFL regular season is over. A voting summit will be held during the NFL playoffs.
-In order for a rule change to be implemented it must pass by a 70% vote.
-The new rules will be instated at the start of NFL free agency, allowing teams to properly evaluate FA moves and prepare for the draft.
-Any rule submitted between NFL Free Agency and the start of the coming season can be voted on right away, but it will not go into effect unless it passes by 100%. Anything less and it will be tabled and voted on again during the next voting summit.
-League dues must be submitted no later than the first day of NFL Free Agency. (this by-law should also include how the payout structure works. There are plenty of variations for payout. It should be voted on by the league and written in the by-laws either way)
I feel like some do not want to have rules, some believe that people are generally good. I envy you. My belief is that there should be by-laws and that we cannot assume anything.
Another condition that can lead to an unfortunate outcome is a lack of respect for others. I may believe that respect must be earned, but on that same coin, there is a general level of respect that should be given to those we work with, associate with, identify with, and play with. Whether you like a person or not, do not let greed get in the way of respect.
If your league does not have any by-laws that look like this, bring it up and share this article, I am confident that your league mates will want to implement something like these and probably even think of more. We have to preemptively fight corruption in fantasy football because there are no Fantasy Football Superheroes. I hope none of you go through something like what happened to my friend.
Special thanks to Brad McDaniel for helping me edit this article.
Find me on Twitter @jojolmags