State of the Leagues Address - ALL READ As many of you know, we will be expanding on the premier system for the launch of the '11 game line. With this move have come many changes and I just wanted to take the time right now and address a few issues that have been coming up. Premier Leagues: As the community grows and we add more and more qualified league members, we will need to expand the number of premier leagues accordingly. However, this isn't a simple equation of supply and demand. Leagues will be elevated to the premier level at the discretion of the management after certain criteria is met. League activity, leadership, content, member base, setup, organization and history are just a few things that are considered. We are developing an application process for leagues to apply for premier status so that we can have leagues in waiting, ready to relegate if the need arises. The definition of a premier league is: The idea was to create a 'two-tier' system that accomplishes a few things: * Reward dedicated members * Develop a placement system for new members * Encourage people to actively participate and meet league requirements by providing incentives * Create an environment for new members to play with veterans and increase the continuity of our league as a whole Spots in premier leagues are only to be awarded to active, proven members who have contributed to help make this community what it is. This idea first came about when we realized the huge difference in activity, participation, content and general league involvement when all 12 members were able to devote priority and the majority of their attention to one league. We also noticed that most members in these leagues generally had little to no interest in being involved with other leagues as the current league they were in was so active and deep that it provided more of an experience than they had time for. These were the same people who used to be in three or four leagues to get the same type of activity. With the new adaptations of the game, it has become less time consuming to achieve the level of involvement a member may require, so we removed the provision that restricted everyone to only one premier league, allowing members to take on as much as they could handle. A large advantage to this system from a management point-of-view was the ability to allocate resources where they needed to be, with established and extremely active leagues. It provided a model for new leagues to be structured under. We form every league here at TF with the idea that one day that league will be a premier league. If you notice, most of the new leagues we form have experienced commissioners and typically one or two veterans of the site mixed in with the majority being new members. This is something we do intentionally to help solidify newly formed leagues and give the new members an example on how to conduct themselves within the community. Premier League Spots: It should be pointed out that just because you pay the $12 subscription to become a premier member, doesn't guarantee you a spot in a premier league. Although, you will have all the perks of becoming a premier member, roster spots in premier leagues still have to be earned. We encourage everyone to play in the non-premier level leagues in order to prove yourself not only as a worthy league-mate, but as an active contributor to the community as a whole. Signatures: At the last management meeting, we decided that we would not be allowing graphical signatures for non-premier members. We know, this sucks but there are a few reasons we did this. One of the reasons was to keep the site clean, some of you are talented with graphics and some of you are not. We want to maintain a clean look to the forums without giant images consisting of collages of poorly parsed images and text. Another reason we decided to go this route is to control the bandwidth usage. This is part of becoming a premier member as you have now paid to use the bandwidth that is allocated to loading the graphics in every thread. We are approaching 100 lifetime members and we must make sure we keep the site solvent for the long term so that these members realize the investment they have made. Part of that is keeping server costs as controlled as possible and thus the need to monitor our bandwidth. For premier members, you will only be allowed to have your official TF sigs in your signatures. This was done for the same reasons as above. We will do our best to accommodate the signature demand and make sure everyone has one. If you are one who likes to switch teams a lot, prepared to wait a long time for updated signatures. Everyone will be issued a signature for your starting team, but just because you want to switch teams every season doesn't mean that someone has to labor on photoshop to keep you happy. Just a fair warning now. We realize that this rule will likely be an unpopular one, but at least we hope you might see the logic behind it. We can always change this in the future, but for now, we feel that this is the direction we must go. It should be noted that other sites (who are larger with more resources) charge money or don't allow sigs and avatars all together. NCAA Rule set: A lot of people have been asking about how we will address certain features for the launch of NCAA '11. This will likely be a repetitive cycle with the launch of every game as we will have to evaluate the fairness and realism of every feature for the community. Rest assured that the gears have already been set in motion and the commissioner team has already formed a gameplan for tackling a new rule set. We expect to take a week or so to get a good feel for the new features and then issue a preliminary rule set. Within the next couple of weeks after the launch we should be able to collect ample feedback and experiences in order to set a concrete ruleset, such as we have now. We also expect to start splitting the ruleset up between the Madden and NCAA series if the gameplay continues to diverge. Wordpress Front-end: As most of you know, we use a WordPress front-end for content management for the site. We will be offering training for this to teach people how to post blogs and information about their leagues and teams. We hope to get an instructional video and a how-to writeup on posting articles. It's your responsibility to learn how to utilize WordPress so that you do not cause more work for management by mis-categorizing posts or messing up someone else's blog. Even as a premier member this is a privilege that can be taken away if you continually show your not capable of doing it correctly (btw, it's real simple, so i don't expect there to be alot of issues). Profile Awards: For those who are waiting on the foundation membership awards and contributor awards, don't worry, they will be coming. We are working on getting everything organized. We have decided to clear the award system for the '11 launch. We will be setting up a new process for requesting awards, so look out for that. Only the gaming awards (Conference championships, Heisman Trophies, etc) will be reset. The awards for contributors, sportsmanship and the like will remain on your profile. Forum Clean-up: We will be moving some of the leagues around in a bit. Moving the premier leagues to the top and renaming a few of the leagues are apart of all of that. So, expect that to happen in the somewhat near future. If you have any questions, please feel free to post.