Here is this preseason's rules and procedures discussions and proposals:

10/22/2001 Ed wrote:

1) Prior to the upcoming season there was a rule mandating that each team have at least
3 players eligible at each of the 5 positions in each of 82 games.  I believe that I
had proposed this rule a few years ago to prevent the "abuse" of manipulating the
eligibility to be able to overuse a player in a particular game -- for example, if I
set my great Center and my average backup Center as the only players eligible to play
Center in a given road game then sombk will use only those Centers all 48 minutes
unless they both completely foul out, in this way I could prevent sombk from
substituting in my 3rd string very weak backup center.
   However, thinking about it this is actually not an "abuse of the rules" but is just
a use of the gameplan to mitigate the disadvantage of being on the road.  In other words
it gives the road team a bit more control in telling the computer not to use that 3rd
string joker at Center (something which is very easy to do at home) which I believe is
a good thing.
   Much much more important than all of this is that managing this 3-person-per-position-
each-game rule is a pain in the butt bigtime!  Not only for you to make your games
missed list (making sure you follow the 3-person rule) but also for me to verify
everyone's list.  It's just not worth it I believe for all of us to go through that
trouble.  We'll still need the make our games missed lists prior to the season but at
least we won't have to worry about the 3-person minimum eligibility every single game
(though in general it's to your advantage to have more than just 2 players eligible at
each position so you aren't using very tired players in case of foul trouble but at
least this way it's your choice and no longer an accounting headache).
   The proposal is to change this 3-person rule to being a 2-person rule.  No other
changes should be made to any other eligibility rule -- for example, you still need at
least 4000 minutes of season eligibility at each position and at least 20000 minutes
total.  If this proposal isn't clear please let me know.

2) This is not really a proposal but more of a question of how people feel about this
issue.  One of the potential negative factors in enjoying any sombk league (more so
than any other sports, I believe) is that it is not unlikely that a very small number
of teams can dominate the league for a few years making participation not as much fun
for everyone else.  In other words, lack of parity at the very top of the league.
   Some leagues have salary cap rules to try (and I stress *try* because I feel that
they are almost always unsuccessful) to limit this but I am very against salary cap
rules or any other rules which will force us to be accountants rather than judging
player talent or worth in its own right.
   I wonder how it would be if something like the following were put into effect:
Any team which has been in the somiba championship series 2 seasons in a row will be
affected the following season.  During player cut-down time that team protects 5
players, the Executive Committee EC takes the best 2 players not protected by that
team, and the team then keeps 5 more players for the regular total of 10.  If the
team lost both of those championship series then the team protects 6 initial players
and if the team won both of those series then the team protects 4.  Players taken by
the EC would be put into the rookie/free-agent draft as are all players cut during
this time.  A sort of realistic counterpart to this would be that sometimes an NBA
team is so talent-laden that after a couple of years of great success some of the
good-but-not-great players go to other teams as free agents.
   In this way a team is in no way additionally penalized for simply making the
playoffs and this rule only goes into effect for teams which are at the very top of
the league for 2 consecutive seasons.  I believe that this will in no way promote
anyone playing to lose as it would be ridiculous to purposefully avoid making the
finals 2 years in a row for the purposes of keeping the 6th best player on the team.
If the league likes this idea to be even stronger then the rule can be extended to
any team making the finals though then perhaps the EC would only take away 1
unprotected player instead of 2 for a team which made the finals only the season
before and not the prior season.
   Having made the finals last season and therefore being one of the teams which
might most quickly be adversely affected by this I believe that I can be unbiased
in supporting the 2-seasons-in-a-row portion of this.  The other finals participant
from last season (neither of us made the finals the previous season) Rick has
indicated to me that he does not have any problem with whatever the league as a
whole decides and we all agree that rules should be judged on their effect on the
league as a whole.  I will post on the web page Rick's response in whole as well as
Charles' response (Rick and Charles if you'd like to also e-mail the league your
responses that of course is up to you).
   What do you think of this?  As always please base your decisions on the good of
the league as a whole and not just the effect on your particular team.

   For both issues it's not time for a vote (it's time for discussion currently) and
based upon last year's brief discussion of issue #1 I believe that #1 will be a slam
dunk.  You are not obligated to comment on an issue to be able to vote on it when the
time comes but all comments are welcome.

Rick wrote:

   I think basketball is the hardest sport to try and create parity (even in the NBA)
because one great player can make more of a difference than three good ones.  Also, I
always base my decisions on improving the league from a nuetral point of view without
looking at how it will affect my team right now since improving the league is more
important than improving one team.  And to vote based on how your team is right now
may hurt you in the future when your team is no longer as it is now.  I would not be
opposed to this proposal,  but it might create more problems.  Besides the few teams
at the top that dominate every year, there are always teams who rebuild by dismantling
all good cardboard players in the hopes of getting an impact player in the draft.  We
would not want to set up a situation where there is an incentive to not try to make the
finals for whatever reason.  I don't think this proposal would do that, but take your
team for example.  Normally someone in your position either tries to improve a little
to make another run, or dismantles and rebuilds.  If someone thought the risk of this
new proposal hurting them the next season chose to not go for it (even though you said
you weren't going to do that), that would be a detrament to the league as well.  As a
title defender, I want to go up against the best competition, and to have everyone lay
down and give up is no fun either.  Not that this is the case now, but I could see that
possibly happening in the future.  I have been in numerous leagues for years, and it is
just the nature of sports to have good and bad teams.  Trying to prevent dynasties is a
good thing, but every year there is always going to be elite teams and bottom feeders
in a continuous league where players are protected from year to year.  It is just a
matter of who those teams will be.  And if it takes a number of years to go from playoff
boarderline to champ, then should you be punished for maintaining that the next year?
If we had an original draft every year, that might help prevent dynasties, but then
whoever gets the top picks each year are the ones who will be elite, and if it is based
on last year's record in any way (even with a lottery) there will be an incentive to
be bad if you can't be elite.  Plus, it takes away the fun of following your players
in real NBA games if you would not have those players the next season.  Trying to reach
parity should be a goal, but I doubt any rule will ever accomplish it in the long run.
People always adapt to any set of rules and find ways to manipulate them to their favor.
If this is proposed to the league and the majority wants to try it, then I have no
problem with it.  I guess we won't know if it helps or not until it is tried.  But if
it ends up doing more harm than good, that would be bad as well.

Charles wrote:

   I do think it would be a good idea to explore possibilities to help address the issues
you represent.  While expansion teams in our league start off better than expansion teams
in the real world, they're hindered by the "lifetime contracts" our players are under.
This can be partially addressed by the rookie draft, but the way the NBA is going taking
a player even after his first year is becoming a crapshoot.
   I do hesitate though at just penalizing teams that reach the finals, since it seems
pretty arbitary.  However as Rick suggested extending it to all playoffs teams could be
a disincentive to bubble teams, who are already tempted by a big difference in draft
   Even if we don't go the way of a salary cap, maybe we could do something along the
lines of finite contract lengths for our players and a separate free agent draft of
players whose contracts are up.  Anyway, it's only a vague idea at this point.

10/23/2001 Don wrote:

   (Regarding 3-person rule) I totally agree.  Even though I try to draft to match the
minutes as well as talent for each position. The only problem I can see with this is
overuse because coaches don't compensate for the 3rd player to match minutes for each
player for the season.  I may be wrong but I can see overuse happening. 
   (Regarding 2nd issue) I like this but my suggestion would be the following:  In finals
2 years in row Keep the top 6 players then let EC take top 2 left from team whether won
or lost series with coach taking 4 players to complete 10 players for the next season. 
In finals 1 year Keep top 8 players with EC taking top 2 left from team whether won or
lost series with coach taking 2 more to complete 10 players for the next season.
   With change over each year with not only trading but free agency in sports today I
believe this would even out our league to a more realistic factor.  I don't think the
top teams should be penalized so much but then again the same teams always at the top
does make one look for other leagues to take part in. 
   I for one have made the playoffs every year but one and in that year I missed by 3
games with a 46-36 record yet twice made playoffs with 41-41 and 40-42 records.  One or
two players on my teams would have made a great difference for me so I could imagine what
it could make for someone else's team.  Let alone I was a Expansion team this last season
and took the champs to the limit in my playoff series.  I could of really used that one
   My suggestion could be way off base but I am looking to even things out for all.  I
think coaches work very hard to make their teams the best they can be but then again this
is only a game we play.  Just my 2 cents 

10/23/2001 Brian wrote:

   (Regarding 3-person rule) This seems like a good idea to me.  The only thing I might
add is a rule that every team must have at least 9 players total eligible in each game.
   (Regarding the 2nd issue) I think this is a good concept, and I agree with Charles
and Rick that it would be good to include some teams other than just the teams in the
finals but that all the playoff teams would be too much.
   What about extending the penalty to teams that make it to the semi-finals two years
in a row as well?  For these teams the EC would just take 1 player rather than 2, and we
could allow them to protect 6 players if they make it to the finals once in the 2 years
and 7 players if they lose both years.  Something like this would make it more of a
sliding scale rather than a sharp drop from finals teams to non-finals teams, and would
affect teams like KAU, who would not be penalized at all right now if we had had your rule
proposal in place (and Peter was still in the league) even though he followed a chamionship
with a 64-win season last year.

10/23/2001 Nigel wrote:

   My two cents on the proposed rule changes.
   On number 1: Keeping it simple works better for me... I like the idea of keeping 3
players available to prevent players from playing out of position. This is one of the
reasons I prefer SOM to Cactus league basketball. I understand that its almost impossible
to check all of the different teams to validate that they correctly complied with the
rule so I agree that the rule should be dropped if the team has 48 minutes of coverage
at each position....
On Number 2: I'm a big fan of increasing player movement since I don't think it takes a
lot of skill to sit on a group of all-stars for 3 or 4 years and act like your competing.
Half the fun of fantasy leagues is drafting. (The other half is winning ;). ) I would
actually prefer each team cut down to a reasonable number before the rookie draft to
prevent hording of players. This would generate a little bit more parity.. The proposed
rule is good but I don't think it goes far enough to generate parity.

10/30/2001 Ed wrote:

I believe that we are ready for a vote on one of the two rules/procedures
issues we had discussed.  If you are interested in voting please review the
discussion on our league's web page under the Rules Discussions link or
directly at  On issue #2 (addressing
league parity) I believe that we need more discussion as there are too many
ideas to be able to fully explore in the next few days, we will take that
matter up in the next few weeks.

Note that our league web page is almost certainly moving (has already moved)
to  More details on that in a future e-mail.

So for any returning league members who would like to participate in the
vote, here are the choices:

A) The rule should be changed to read (Constitution section IV,B,9,a):
"Coaches must have at least 2 players with non-zero minutes assigned in the
fatigue grid per position for each game. Players scheduled to miss the game
must be set as ineligible and may not count towards this 2-player limit."
The rule currently states the number 3 instead of 2.  There will be no other
changes to other player requirement rules as each team must still have at
least 4000 minutes of eligibility at each position and at least 20000
minutes of eligibility overall.  The main purpose of this is so that
creating and following the games missed list will be much easier for all of
us with this change.

B) Same as A but with the additional requirement that each game each team
must have at least 9 players available.

C) No change, keep the 3-player limit as it is.

Please choose your order of preference for these three options.  Brian had
brought up option B so I include it in this vote.  Unfortunately it is too
late to add any further options.

The deadline for this vote is Friday 11/2 at 9:00pm Pacific Time and I will
post votes as soon as I get them (I get e-mail weeknights and weekends only,
mostly).  This should give us time to complete the vote and give us a few
hours (not much time at all, I admit) to modify our draft strategy if the
vote doesn't go the way we planned.  Hopefully the results will be clear
later tonight or tomorrow night so you can plan accordingly.

Charles votes BAC
Ed votes ABC
Brian votes BAC

Steve votes A
AaronK votes ABC

Rick votes BAC

There is a tie among votes and also a tie in the "run-off" (as I interpret the
  league constitution amendment quoted below).  This tie is not between enacting
  a rule and not enacting it (in which case the rule would not be enacted) but is
  a tie between one rule change and another.  Unless someone objects I will keep
  the voting open further for new votes; you may change your primary vote (i.e.
  your first preference) but you may not change your second vote unless you are
  already changing your primary vote.
If this stays as a tie then I will break the tie by choosing option A.  Option B
  would force us to create additional complication in my opinion with what to do
  if a coach accidentally set his games missed list to only have 8 players in a
  game (but did have 2 players at each position for the game) and also would force
  me to more closely audit everyone's games missed list and I don't feel that the
  extra work would be worth it though if the vote went that way of course that
  would be fine.

"If the majority of votes used list one option as the top choice then 
that choice will be enacted.  Otherwise each vote will have a point 
score associated with each choice – 3 points for the top choice, 2 for 
the second choice, and 1 for the third choice.  The top two choices of 
point total will have a runoff with the existing votes already received 
where the highest-ranked remaining choice of each ballot will count as 
the choice on that ballot.  If there is a tie for the second-highest 
choice (or a more-than-two-way tie for the highest choice) then the 
highest-ranked voting league officer (usually the Commissioner) will 
decide which of those break the tie and participate in the runoff.

For example, say there are choices A, B, C, and D for a league ruling.  
If all 5 participating league officers respond and 2 choose A while each 
other chooses one each of the other choices then this 2 will not be a 
majority and point totals will be tallied for each choice.  If A 
receives 8 points, B receives 10 points, C receives 8 points, and D 
receives 4 points then the Commissioner will look at the vote of the 
highest-ranked league officer (probably himself) and choose the most 
preferable choice between A and C on that vote; either A or C will have 
a runoff with B.  Say in this example that it’s a runoff between B and C 
then take each of the votes and whichever choice is listed as more 
preferable than the other on the majority of votes then that choice will 
be enacted."

11/8/2001 There were no further votes.  I will break the tie with the ruling that
  option A will be our new rule.  Requiring 9 players just doesn't fit with the
  NBA minimum required of 8 and also creates an added administrative burden for me
  to have to check everyone's games missed list and I don't see any advantage to
  that here.  Thank you to everyone who voted.