The Skillshot Media League Ops team would like to provide a brief update regarding a recently released video that has created some confusion in the community around the competitive integrity of online matches played during the 2018 SPL Spring Split.
Please read our full briefing on this issue below.
An SPL player recently released a video that was an inside look at team communications from a pro league match that took place last season and featured the former rosters for NRG and Obey Alliance. In the video, you could hear all 5 starting members of the team communicating — along with their coach.
The presence of the coach in comms during the actual gameplay caused confusion among fans and players, who were unsure whether or not this was against the league rules and wanted more info regarding the league ops team’s official stance on this practice.
First, we want to point out that there was never any rule published in the SPL ruleset that directly forbids a coach from communicating with players during the game via voice chat, so long as that coach is a registered and valid member of the team or organization.
That being said, it was verbally communicated to players on multiple occasions (though not on a regular basis) that this was not an approved practice. While not mentioned in the ruleset for online games, there were clear rules for LAN games stating that a coach should never talk to the team during a game, but only during picks and bans. This rule was understood by all teams and coaches as applying to online gameplay as well.
Additionally, the player who posted the video had accused another team of using their coach in the same manner for the same purposes, demonstrating that this practice was well-known as being against the rules of the league. We did not find any evidence to support the player’s claim that this took place among other teams.
In examining our ruleset, we realized that although there should have been a written clause regarding coaches talking to teams during a game, that clause was not included in the ruleset provided to players and teams. We will be adding this clause to all online rulesets for games moving forward.
While we don’t condone that this took place — as it was well understood that the practice was not okay — we are also aware of the factors surrounding the situation and that our own oversight regarding the inclusion of that clause may have contributed to the confusion around the ruleset.
With the new league structure that has all matches being played on LAN, this type of issue will not be allowed to happen again in pro league play.
The League Operations team has spoken with the player in question about the video and the match that took place to ensure he understands the severity of the actions that were taken last season.
We have also reached out to that player’s current team, the Pittsburgh Knights, who will work closely with their roster to fully understand and properly adhere to the rules and regulations of the SMITE Pro League. They will make every effort with the team and coach to ensure they are well-versed in the policies of the league.