- The following text is recovered from a reddit mirror of the original article and not the article itself. Original article location (no longer available) - https://www.lolesports.com/en_US/articles/2018-academy-league-roster-rules-update
Grza and RiotIceChest here - the two guys in charge of Academy League Operations. From the Academy League update in December, we got a lot of community feedback. We wanted to clarify the mission of Academy League and, based on these goals, how they’ll guide us in supporting the League from broadcast details to roster rules.
Academy League is a developmental league for NA LCS teams to train future LCS players in a pro-format setting. This is different from the Challenger Series, which was focused on getting new teams into the NA LCS. Academy League will be broadcasted at 3:00 PM PT or following the EU LCS Academy League broadcast will be moving to the Riot Games Twitch channel Thursday games will be played off-broadcast, but we will be uploading observed VODs to Lolesports Academy League match schedule is now available Roster rules have been updated so pros can more easily swap between Academy and NA LCS. Some restrictions apply, including the interregional movement policy and veteran limits
What’s the goal of Academy League? How is it different than Challenger?
The goal of Academy League is to accelerate the development of new (or work- in-progress) professional players by providing opportunities for structured competition, coaching, and mentorship without the intense LCS spotlight. At its core, Academy League is a service for organizations to develop in-house talent -- unlike it’s high-stakes predecessor, the Challenger Series, whose focus was to promote new teams to the NA LCS. Why should NA LCS teams care about Academy League?
Organizations are investing in Academy teams because they can develop talent to be promoted to their primary NA LCS rosters, or traded to other organizations. We’ve also relaxed rules around how players can move between Academy and LCS starting rosters. We’ll explain more about the roster rules below.
For new players in Academy League, beyond the aspirational path to play in the NA LCS, we will also be guaranteeing a minimum salary and awarding a prize pool for the winner of Academy League. We’ll also continue to work with LCS organizations on what other prizes would be valuable for their players. What are the roster rule changes?
In light of the above goal of Academy League to accelerate the development of new professional players, we felt it would be detrimental for player development if it was difficult for players to move between the starting Academy and LCS rosters.
Instead, this season (at or least this split - if this is a colossal trainwreck, we’ll work with teams to make changes before summer split) teams will lock in their active roster (players who are eligible to play that week) on Wednesday at 12:00 PM PT. This includes players that they add to their rosters from trades or pick up through free agency. All players on a team’s active roster will be eligible to play in Academy League or LCS games that week, assuming compliance with import and veteran restrictions. Teams will set their starting roster for each Academy and LCS game on game day, at 1:00 PM PT on Thursday and Friday for Academy and at noon on Saturday and Sunday for LCS. What’s stopping teams from making an Academy team stacked with all former
One of the common concerns from the community after the Academy Update was around why there wasn’t a “veteran limit.” To clarify, *there is a limit *on the number of seasoned players who can play on an Academy roster at a time.
- No more than three “Veteran Players” can be fielded in any Academy game at
any time. *A player is classified as a “Veteran Player” if the player has started over 50% of eligible regular seasons over the course of the last two splits of professional, Worlds-eligible League of Legends competition (i.e. NA LCS, EU LCS, etc).
Our original plan was allow only two Veteran Players per Academy team, but with so many roster changes in 2018 we didn’t want to punish pros who had professional experience but couldn’t find a starting LCS spot. Additionally, teams wanted to have more flexibility to add veterans to their rosters for both internal scrim purposes, and also to provide more experienced mentors for their newer rosters.
At this point, very few players expected to start for Academy teams are classified as Veteran Players. The current thinking is that the number of veteran slots will decrease to two and the qualifications may change as we work with teams and the Players’ Association to fine-tune. Are there any other roster restrictions?
In addition to the Veteran Player limit, we will also be applying the interregional movement policy, which is the clinical term for the rule that limits the number of non-resident players on a starting roster. The NA LCS limitation of two non-resident players in a starting roster will remain unchanged, and Academy starting rosters will be limited to one non-resident player.
We have applied it at the Academy level because we want to make sure teams are developing NA talent (which is the whole point of Academy league). At the same time, we saw value (as did the teams) in having a place for imported players to get acclimated to NA esports, as well as learn English and deal with the transition of living in a new country. Is there a cooldown swap period between NA LCS and Academy, like we did
The short answer is no.
The long answer is we considered it. During rule drafting, there was an additional restriction which stated that players could only play in six games in any two-week period. It existed because while we wanted to make sure that players could move fluidly between Academy and LCS games, we didn’t want teams iron-manning players or burning them out by trying to get them into as many games as possible.
On further examination, it does not appear that any teams have plans to iron- man players (outside of some potential visa issues) – they’ve all spent a lot of time and effort recruiting Academy teams and, in the discussions we’ve had, they’ve been generally excited about their Academy teams (as either a great place to develop talent for their team or as a place to develop players to sell to teams in trouble at the trade deadline). In addition, we spent a ton of time during the franchise process interviewing teams, and believe we selected ten teams that match our view for Academy teams. In the absence of a compelling reason for the restriction, we decided to remove it as we shipped the final draft of the rules to teams. When can I see the rosters?
Rosters are now available on Lolesports. As noted above, teams must declare their starting rosters for NA LCS and Academy two hours before the first game of the day on each Academy and LCS game day. What about the matches?
The match schedule is live on Lolesports. Academy League will mirror their weekly matchups to the NA LCS. For example, TSM plays Team Liquid and FlyQuest during NA LCS Week 1 so TSM Academy will also face-off against Team Liquid Academy and FlyQuest Academy that week. How do I watch?
Thursday night games will be played off-broadcast and observed VODs will be available on Lolesports.
We will broadcast Friday’s games at 3:00 PM PT or following the EU LCS broadcast on Lolesports, Twitch
, and YouTube. Why not do more for Thursday’s games?
Running four days of broadcast last year was draining from a resource perspective, and prevented us from offering more NA LCS content, like pre-show coverage, alt streams, and more. This year our plan was to only support one day of Academy League (Friday), but organizations wanted a format with more games to get as much practice as possible, rather than a format that allowed for all games to be broadcast. We agreed.
That said, we heard your feedback on wanting to at least be able to watch Academy League VODs, and so we’ll be uploading observed VODs on Lolesports. Additionally, we’re going to be exploring options as to how we can develop new casting talent, or provide a casual stream without the heavy resource cost that a broadcast day demands.
Don’t miss an exciting Week 1 of North American esports with the Academy League broadcast on January 19 at 3:00 PM PT and NA LCS on Saturday, January 20 at 2:00 PM PT.
Chris “Grza” Greeley is the League Operations lead for the NA LCS and ran League Operations for MSI and Worlds in 2017. He is a recovering lawyer from New York City who has channeled years of raiding on his Resto Druid into life in the bottom lane dropping wards and shooting gliterlances. You can find him on Twitter as @IAmGrza.