State of the Leagues

Welcome to the first annual State of the Leagues address.  This address will be used to cover some of the various topics and concerns going on with the Illinois Fantasy Leagues, as we complete the first year of them.

Overview
2010 was a great start to the Illinois Fantasy Leagues.  The season began with the Illinois Fantasy Baseball League and 16 teams, followed up by 14 teams in the Illinois Football League.  Also under the fantasy leagues banner is the Mid-American Hockey League with 5 teams, and the Illinois Basketball League with 8 teams.  There has been good to strong participation in year one, and we are hoping for continued success after that.

League Fees
One common staple of fantasy leagues is paying a fee to get into the league.  Other pay aspects of leagues that I have learned of, include fees for transactions, fees for losing match-ups, and others.  Although there has been strong consideration to begin enacting league fees for 2011, along with votes in support of the motion, we will not enact fees to participate in the leagues next year.
One of the reasons for this decision is that the leagues are not strong and viable enough yet to enact the fees.  I feel that paying fees to enter leagues will not be viable until a good core of fantasy players has been developed, and who participate on a consistent basis.  There is a group of that currently, but not big enough to start considering fees.  Enacting fees can bring players in, but it can also turn players off, and the effect of it is unknown at this time.  There are also other concerns with the fees, which arguably could be sorted out before the 2011 IFB season; prize structure, side fees, how to pay, how much to pay.
Fees could be in place in 2012.  But for now, next year’s leagues will be free to play.

Leagues for 2011
It is the decision of the commisioner that we not sponsor hockey and basketball leagues for 2011.  This is based off the support seen for all four sports.  Baseball and football saw strong numbers, while numbers in hockey and basketball were down.  It must be noted though that the MAHL was put together only a few days before the draft, and it should be commended for the efforts made so far.  But lack of support and interest in MAHL and IBL will lead to its discontinuation after this season.

Potential NFL Lockout
Everyone is aware of the news, and aware of the possibilitiy that the NFL will lockout and not play a 2011 season.  If that is the case and turns out true, then there will be no other sport to replace it for 2011.

# of teams
I feel good with the number of teams in place for each league in 2010; 16 in the IFB, 14 in the IFL, 5 in the MAHL, and 8 in the IBL.  The baseball and football leagues had strong turn-outs, while the hockey and basketball leagues showed respectable numbers.
Going into 2011, the goal for the IFB and the IFL was 20 teams.  After further reflection, I came to the realization that 20 is too high of a number of either of those leagues.  But, after seeing the success of a 16-team IFBk, that will be the goal for the baseball and football leagues next season.
It should also be noted that division play will continue into 2011.  The leagues will continue to have the intention to have 4 divisions, and every attempt will be made to have an even number of teams in each division.  If that is not met, then 2 or 3 divisions will be used.

Length of Seasons
The IFB next season will continue to have the same length as it did in 2010; 22 week regular season, with an 8-team, 3 week postseason.  This topic is being raised due to concerns with owners in regards to the length of the IFL season.
Next year, the IFL will be reduced by one week.  That means the Prairie Bowl will occur in Week 16 of the NFL season, not Week 17.  Reasons for this include concerns with certain players not playing in the final week of the NFL season, along with Week 16 as the traditional end of the season.  That means that next season in the IFL will have a 13-week regular season, and a 3-week playoff.

Hosting Sites
For 2011, the Illinois Fantasy Leagues will continue to use Yahoo! as its base for hosting the leagues.  Other sites have their advantages, but a poll of owners voted to keep on Yahoo! for next season.  And based of my past experiences, Yahoo! has been the better operator of fantasy leagues.

Owner Participation
Concerns have been brought up by other owners about the participation levels of other owners in the leagues.  This is a great concern, as it was learned during the IFB season that one owner had deleted their account, and thus could not access their team anymore for roster moves and lineup changes.
Unfortunately, there is no way to punish an owner for lack of participation, even of said owner has admitted a lack of participation.  Once a season begins, players are on that team until traded or dropped.  Forfeit wins would not be a fair option either, as teams play some more than once, and the rest only once.
Therefore, no action can be taken against unattentive owners.  The only way to combat this is to find owners that will participate the entire season.

Drafts
Drafts will be continued to be held at the same time next season; 7:00 P.M. Central time on the Sunday before the start of the professional season for the related league.  That means the draft for the IFB will take place on March 27th, 2011.  The draft for the IFL season has yet to be determined, due to an unsure NFL schedule, along with the possibility that the NFL season in 2011 may not occur.
Drafts will continue to be live.  They have proven to be a success, with lively participation.  For future seasons, a live draft where all or a majority of the owners come together to one centralized location to draft is being considered.

Social Media
I realize that I have not been keeping up on the blog as much as I would like to.  Numerous events have caused that; work situations, free time, etc.  But you have my word that the Illinois Fantasy Leagues blog will be updated in a more consistent and regular manner for 2011.
The league is doing well to venture into social media as well.  The blog address is https://ilfantasyleague.wordpress.com/ .  The leagues also has a Twitter account at @ilfantasyleague, and I am looking at a fan page on Facebook.  I am also considering the possiblity of creating a forum as well for the leagues, so owners may discuss aspects about the leagues, and other non-fantasy sports topics.

Keeper Players
The Illinois Fantasy Leagues for 2011 will tentatively use keeper players for teams that return.  That final decision will be made based off the fesability of using keeper players, and whether or not Yahoo! will allow it, along with the logistics.
The tentative plan for keeper players will be as follows for baseball:
You may choose to keep at most one position player and one pitcher from your final roster for the 2010 season.  You may not keep two of the same, only one of each.
Owners are NOT required to keep a player on their final roster from the 2010 season.  It is a decision up to the owner.  Owners may keep one position player and one pitcher, or one position player or pitcher, or keep no players.
If an owner keeps a player, then the owner must give up a pick in the draft that corresponds where the kept player is projected to be on draft cheat sheets.  Length of rounds will be determined by how many teams are in the league.  For example, in a 16-team league, Team A selects to keep Adam Wainwright.  Wainwright is projected to be 52nd overall in draft cheat sheets.  Therefore, Team A must give up their 4th round draft pick if they keep Wainwright (52nd pick would be in the 4th round).
A summary of final rosters can be found at the 2010 season archive at http://baseball.fantasysports.yahoo.com/league/ilfantasybaseball .  Owners must e-mail the commissioner at toonboy92484@yahoo.com by March 25th on what players they would like to keep for 2011.

Trades and Waivers
One of the hottest topics amongst league owners during 2010 was trades.  The incident that brought out the most concern was a potential trade between Muse Academy Muses and Bambinos in the IFB.  Members felt the trade was an unfair one, considering the timing of the trade and the players involved, and voted to veto the trade.
Trade rules in all the leagues for 2011 will not change.  Owners may make any trade they want with another owner, as long as they have an owner willing to participate in the trade.  Once a trade is completed, then there will be a two-day review period, in order for other owners to review the trade.  Owners can let the trade go through by not taking any action, or voice their disagreement with the trade by voting to veto it.  If enough owners veto the trade, then the trade will not occur.  This system is the most fair, because it allows for open trading, and for owners to be able to voice opinions on trades.
The waiver rule will change in the IFB next year, but not in the IFL.  The free agent budget option will not come back to the IFB.  Instead, waiver priority will be determined by current standings, letting the worst ranked teams have first priority at free agents.

Names of Divisions, Championships
The league will continue to use names of Illinois-related Presidents to name their divisions in 2011 and beyond.  It is a more honorable system, and works better than the directional division route.
The championships for each will be named as follows; the IFB Championship will be known as the Illinois Series, and the IFL Championship known as the Prairie Bowl.

As always, comments are encouraged.  If there are other topics you would like to see addressed in the future, leave a comment here or on Twitter or e-mail me at toonboy92484@yahoo.com

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  1. Daniel Snodgrass
    January 6, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Just wanted to say thanks TJ and I like what you’re doing for the league!

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