As many of you know, today’s RLCS regular season ended in a 3-way tie between Ourselves, Northern Gaming, and Mockit Aces for the number 1 spot. All 3 teams ended the season with 5-2 records, and in the Head to Head matchup between the teams, each team beat one team and lost to the other, leaving us all 1-1 in the head to head matchups.
According to the most recently posted standings on twitter, and following several conversations with Admins at RLCS, it has been determined by those in charge of RLCS that the final rankings of RLCS will be Northern Gaming in 1st place, Mockit Aces in 2nd place, and Flipsid3 Tactics in 3rd place. This absolutely goes against the rules as they are explicitly written on the official website of the RLCS.
The rules, which can be viewed by all teams in advance of accepting to join a competition and which (until approximately 19:45 EST today when they were changed by the RLCS Staff without a public announcement) were found at https://www.rocketleagueesports.com/rules, clearly and explicitly state that in the event of a three-way tie (188.8.131.52), there are several tiebreakers to be utilized in order. They also clearly and explicitly state that should a tie remain FOLLOWING THE APPLICATION of any tiebreaker, the head to head match is utilized to break the tie (184.108.40.206).
The first tiebreaker, according to the rules page, is game win percentage in League Play, defined as total number of games won divided by total number of games played. As per this definition, the final ranking of the three teams should be Northern Gaming should be in 1st place with 63% (17-10), FlipSid3 in 2nd with 61% (17-11), and Mockit Aces in 3rd with 59% (19-13). As per these numbers, it is clear and obvious that the game win percentage ranks the three teams, and no tie remains.
The RLCS staff have chosen to interpret the rule as “after a single team is determined ahead of the other two in a 3-way tie, we revert to 220.127.116.11”. You can see this interpretation in several tweets by RLCS staff, including https://twitter.com/JDDell15/status/790308096270700544. This interpretation is completely unacceptable as it is found nowhere in the rule itself, nor in the rest of the ruleset, does not abide by the results, nor can it be explained by breaking down the English language the rule is written in. In fact, this interpretation is going against the explicit wording of the rule which states “if only two teams remain tied after application of any of these steps …” This cannot logically, legally, or by any proper understanding of the English language, be interpreted as they wish for it to be.
We at FlipSid3 have been supporters and advocates of Rocket League as an eSport since its release. We are proud of the immense growth this community has seen, and prouder to call ourselves a part of it. We are also veterans of eSports and fully understand the right of a tournament organizer to decide the rules of their own event. We also understand that rules need to have room for interpretation as an eSport grows and learns from it’s mistakes.
However, when tournament organizers can interpret their own rules at will, especially those rules whose language is explicit, and in no way vague, and those interpretations take precedence over the written rules themselves, the integrity of competition and the sport are seriously called into question. This is beyond unfair and unethical, and absolutely against any kinds of sportsmanship. This can severely hinder the growth of the game as an eSport, can corrupt public opinion and support of the game, and will surely call into question the legitimacy of the decision makers within it.
We fully understand that these rules, as they are written, may not have been what the admins at RLCS intended when they wrote them. We also fully believe that while we disagree with how they are handling this situation, the staff at RLCS care deeply for the future of Rocket League. That being said, if they insist on interpreting their own rules in a way which differs significantly from the written wording of the rules, those changes should be applied following the completion of the current season. If they feel so strongly that these rules must be changed mid-season, and since those changes will directly affect the LAN birth of one of these three teams, a public statement explaining why they are deviating so significantly from their written rules must be made. Furthermore, given the exceptional circumstances, an exceptional solution must be reached between the Admins and the 3 teams directly affected by this to come up with a solution which treats the 3 highest ranking teams in the season fairly, and does not rob any one of them from a direct spot at the LAN without fair compensation.
EDIT – Since this posting, RLCS have overturned this decision https://www.reddit.com/r/RocketLeague/comments/5958rl/rlcs_official_statement_october_24th_2016/, and have redone the rankings. We are so happy to see them rectify this situation, and to address these issues publicly. Thank you so much to the staff there who went to bat for the players and community and to ensure their voices were heard. You are the unsung heros of this process, and you take a lot of heat despite not being the decision makers. And to the community especially, your show of support, and how loud your voices rang out through this, has been absolutely amazing! This change doesn’t happen without you!