Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fantasy Football DIspute No. 2603 -- Free Agent Bid Allowed Despite Imperfect Form



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Index No. 2603

Date: December 12, 2008

Dispute: Alleged Rule Violation

Judge: Brett Smiley


LEAGUE MANAGER, on behalf of the LEAGUE


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Petitioner, the LEAGUE MANAGER, on behalf of the LEAGUE, brings this fantasy football dispute in the COURT OF FANTASY FOOTBALL seeking review of a bid submission that, strictly speaking, does not conform with the proper form pursuant to the rules posted by the League Manager. However, for the reasons set forth herein, this Court rules in favor of ICE and upholds the bid. This is a case of first impression so we rely on no precedent in reaching our holding.


The fantasy football dispute presented here is whether or not the bid was legitimate.

This calls into question the rulebook, as set forth in a league-chat, which provides:

All bids will be made here. A bid may not be edited. If it is edited it will not count.

Free agents will be open for bidding at 3 a.m. on Tuesdays. Bidding will conclude at p.m. on Wednesday.

Each team will have a $100 budget for the first half of the year. Budgets will reset after week 7.

All bids must be made in whole dollars, otherwise they will not count.

If an owner is over his allotted budget at 7 p.m. on Wednesday all of his bids will be disqualified.

At 7:01 p.m. on Wednesday I will post the auction winners and they will be allowed to add their players. At this time, all remaining free agents become fair game.

If an owner picks up a player before 7 p.m. on Wednesday or picks up a player that he has won an auction for, he will be fined $20 free agent dollars and will lose a roster spot for that week.

All teams currently have their full $100 budget.

ALL posts are to be made using this format: (Example) Tom Brady $1

The relevant evidence was reviewed and instructive in reaching our decision.

Through the course of the season the league members established a norm that deviated from the strict rule above (although, the rule did not prove strict)—that bids would be recognized even if they did not conform with the rule—First name, Last name $. The league members earlier in the season challenged a bit of “Moore 45” which was upheld in awarding the bidder Mewelde Moore using $45 from his budget. The Court suspects that numerous other nonconforming bids were made, accepted and not challenged.

And so the bid at issue now is Colts 6. ICE submitted the name of the “player” (Colts) and a dollar value (6). Yes, it was not in the "proper form”, which would have been Colts $ 6 (a sub-issue, the absence of “D/ST” discussed supra).

As noted above, the League Manager indicated to the Court in its letter that more than one bid had previously been recognized that did not follow form. In light of that, it would be wholly unfair to penalize ICE in this instance for making a bid (and ultimately winning) that indeed wasn't in "proper form", but in a form that had previously been accepted. Effectively, this matter has been decided by the League’s own prior ruling.

Curiously, the bid was actually accepted and this challenge to its legitimacy comes after a playoff game was decided by the Colt’s D/ST point total. Indeed, this ruling is based on the doctrines of equitable estoppel, whereby this challenge comes too late as ICE has already relied on the bid acceptance in setting his roster, and acquiescence/ratification whereby the nonconforming bid form had been previously accepted and therefore the League cannot deny it now based on circumstance.

Significantly, part of the argument against the bid suggests that the absence of the "D/ST" after "Colts" is part of the problem. But nothing in the League Manager’s petition or the evidence indicates that a player's position is supposed to be part of the bid. The example was not "Tom Brady QB $1". Rather, it was "Tom Brady $1". And so this Court cannot agree that the presence (or lack of presence) of "D/ST" from the bid has any effect whatsoever.


For reasons set forth herein, this Court rules that the free agent bid should be upheld.

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