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Trade Veto Issue

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Trade Veto Issue

Postby flint650 » Wed May 30, 2012 11:07 am

I am commissioner in a 10 Team Keeper League that has been going for 2 years. So this past year was the first with keepers in play. All the rules of this league were thoroughly outlined in our constitution that all managers voted on and approved unanimously. There was a trade in our league that occurred in our league on the last day of the trade deadline that I vetoed (my only veto) and has caused serious issues in the league. I was hoping to get feedback on what the community thinks with the draft only a few months away it will be something I have to address at our draft party.

Currently our rules work out like this:

The Commish has sole veto power on all trades. The main reason for this is so trades are executed/vetoed the same day. we had a league voting system in previous leagues and everybody agreed it was inefficient.

There is a rules committee, consisting of two managers, that can overturn ANY decision the commish makes if both vote to overturn. Anyone in the league can file a complaint with the committee. They have 24 hours once a complaint is made to make that decision.

So again this trade occurred on the last day of trading:

Team 1: 8-2 Record (Trading Away)

Michael Vick (Benched due to Injury)
Jimmy Graham
Peyton HIllis (Benched due to Injury)

Team 2: 5-5 Record (Trading Away) this team was eliminated from the money bracket, but at the top of the consolation bracket where the winner gets the 2nd overall pick the next year.

Aaron Rodgers
Wes Welker
Rashard Mendenhall
Kellen WInslow

So in looking at the trade I concluded that Team 2, not being "in the money", was dumping his starting QB, WR, RB for potential keepers for next year Vick and Hillis. Giving Team 1 a huge advantage in the money bracket. I vetoed the trade on the premise that this sets a precedent for all league managers that if you are not in the money then to dump your best players to the top four teams for the potential keepers they are willing to part with.I sent an email out to the entire league stating that point, and while I do not believe collusion took place it was not a hard case to make that this deal looked that way. I sent an email to both parties stating that this trade was uneven and to rework the deal to make it more balanced and I would approve it. i.e. team 1 include one more non injured player, or team 2 remove Welker.

Both teams involved in the trade appealed my decision to the rules committee. One of the teams involved in the trade was on the committee so I called the other committee member to pick another manager to fill in. So that night the two members and myself met to discuss the decision and it took about 4-5 hours and started getting ugly in the end. One member upheld the other was against and since the decision was not unanimous the veto was upheld. Neither team submitted a different deal so at the end of it no trade was made.

Since then this decision has been the main topic of discussion whenever I hang out with two managers who were vetoed, and it has definitely caused a rift in the league. There are some things I handled inappropriately mainly I should have contacted both parties before I vetoed the trade to see if they would rework the deal before bringing it to light to the whole league. In the future I will do that, though I don't suspect this will be an issue again.

So I guess at the end of this I am just looking for thoughts on the whole scenario any suggestions for rule changes etc.

Thanks.
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Re: Trade Veto Issue

Postby flotsamnjetsam » Wed May 30, 2012 12:30 pm

flint650 wrote:and while I do not believe collusion took place



I think you answered your own question because IMO, unless collusion is suspected, all trades should get approved...no matter how lopsided they look on paper. Good luck! :-/ ;-D
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Re: Trade Veto Issue

Postby flint650 » Wed May 30, 2012 12:51 pm

flotsamnjetsam wrote:
flint650 wrote:and while I do not believe collusion took place



I think you answered your own question because IMO, unless collusion is suspected, all trades should get approved...no matter how lopsided they look on paper. Good luck! :-/ ;-D


That is a good point and one of the things that was talked about during the rules committee review. While in my personal opinion I don't think that collusion took place, I am at heart an optimist and don't think anybody in our league would do that, the committee member who upheld the Veto stated that he did think that something was very fishy about this trade and wouldn't rule it out.

So when it comes to the collusion issue I don't really see anyway to prove or disprove that collusion took place beyond one of the parties making a blatant move i.e. one of the teams saying we are splitting the winnings. I mean do we subpoena the bank records of each party? How far does the investigation have to go? Is it collusion if the deal was struck at a bar one night and one manager bought the other manager's drinks? There are so many variables in that equation that should the litmus test just be that one person in the league suspects that it happened? and if that is the case should every trade that looks like this one should be overturned?

EDIT 1: Changed "committee member who upheld the trade" to "committee member who upheld the Veto"
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Re: Trade Veto Issue

Postby murphysxm » Wed May 30, 2012 4:04 pm

You can't have a keeper league and not expect teams to think about next year. This shouldn't have been vetoed. Unless there is collusion the veto button should never be pressed. If you want to move up the trade deadline to help mitigate this you can, but it's still going to happen.
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Re: Trade Veto Issue

Postby flint650 » Thu May 31, 2012 7:32 am

murphysxm wrote:You can't have a keeper league and not expect teams to think about next year. This shouldn't have been vetoed. Unless there is collusion the veto button should never be pressed. If you want to move up the trade deadline to help mitigate this you can, but it's still going to happen.


Moving up the trade deadline is a good idea and I am going to try to amend our rules to get that change in there. I've been reading a lot of posts about this issue the past couple days and the consensus I get is that nothing should ever be vetoed unless there is collusion. The thing about it is though is I haven't found an adequate definition for collusion in regards to a keeper league, because of the very point you bring up that managers are going to be thinking about the next year.

I guess that the variables in this decision were ultimately the following:

1. The closer to the trade deadline the scrutiny of trades increases.
2. A team that was as close to mathematically eliminated as possible, i.e. one more loss and he was out, trading his #1 players in every roster spot for 3 players 2 of which had been sitting out for substantial lengths of time.
3. When the rules committee deliberated the trade collusion was not ruled out. And in those discussions the idea that if this trade went through it would make collusion easier.

I want to talk about point #3 in that both replies up to this point say if there was no collusion that the trade should have gone through. In the rules committee deliberation collusion was not ruled out, but there is no way to prove or disprove that collusion took place. So is the suspicion of collusion enough or do you need solid evidence? And if you need solid evidence what level of evidence will be acceptable and how do you obtain it?

The second point brought up in the collusion argument is that if this trade is allowed to go through you create a scenario that encourages collusion. The idea being that a scenario would be created where the top four teams in contention for the championship would have to poach the bottom 6 teams for their starters, and if you couldn't get the players you need on trades alone you would have to do sweeten the deal somehow to compete in the championship weeks. I guess I would call this argument the "league integrity" argument. Everybody paid money to be in the league so in terms of trades should there not be oversight to prevent teams out of contention for money from trading to a team that is in contention. Especially when the trade reduces the competitive value of the team out of contention and significantly increases the competitive value of the team in contention for 2 benched players and 1 starter.

I understand that most people think that all trades should go through unless there is collusion, but if you think that tell me what your definition of collusion is so it can be applied to the situation, and going forward what steps can be taken to prove collusion happened. In this instance it was not ruled out by the rules committee, or by a couple other managers in the league who were not involved in the decision.
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Re: Trade Veto Issue

Postby murphysxm » Thu May 31, 2012 8:20 am

In your trade, both teams did things that they felt helped their teams. One helped himself this year, one next year. For me collusion means an owner makes a trade that in no part helps themselves and is solely for the benefit of helping the other team. I think you are over thinking it. If you can look at a trade and see value on both sides hit ok, it's the not the commish's role to determine if is fair.
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Re: Trade Veto Issue

Postby flint650 » Thu May 31, 2012 9:13 am

murphysxm wrote:In your trade, both teams did things that they felt helped their teams. One helped himself this year, one next year. For me collusion means an owner makes a trade that in no part helps themselves and is solely for the benefit of helping the other team. I think you are over thinking it. If you can look at a trade and see value on both sides hit ok, it's the not the commish's role to determine if is fair.


I fundamentally disagree with that definition of collusion, the scenario that you describe is just plain cheating and the penalty would be expulsion from the league. Collusion in economic terms means a group of rivals working together for their own mutual benefit by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage. There is also a term called 'tacit collusion' which states that the agreement to collude is not expressly stated. This is really the crux of my argument that value on both sides does not mean a legitimate trade especially when it is at the expense of the other managers in the league, and changes the dynamic of the trade system.

I don't know if I put this in any other posts but if this trade had gone down in week 6 I couldn't veto it because both both players would be in contention for money. And frankly is this is a trade they really wanted to make it would have been made that early in the year. but essentially what happened is this the team out of the money says "the value of winning the consolation bracket, ie the 2nd overall pick, is less valuable to me then the possibility of money next year." That situation creates unbalanced competition in the consolation bracket. Secondly he says "I can give all of my best players to the manager currently in 4th essentially creating a powerhouse team for him with no real loss because he would give me 2 of his injured players and his starting TE." With the acceptance of the trade by the team in the money he is creating unbalanced competition in the money bracket. He would have been going into the playoffs with a team that was completely different then the team that had gotten him to that point.

It creates a major situation in the balance of the league, the consolation bracket gets significantly weaker with the top player giving his team away, and the money bracket gets significantly weaker by allowing one team to totally change his lineup by giving up a couple benchers, and a great tight end. So what should every other manager do? If that trade goes through the only thing they can do is try the same type of trades. Creating a system that rewards making few to no trades at the beginning of the year and then making 1 large trade in the last hours of the trade timeline, and essentially if you have no keepers at that point your SOL.

I can't wrap my head around the idea that balance should not be a factor in evaluating trades with variables in play. If you make a trade early on that trade is less scrutinized because you are trying to make your team better for the current year. As time goes on and it is closer to the trade deadline trades between brackets should be held to the highest standard because both parties are essentially no longer in competition, and can create a mutually beneficial situation that is highly detrimental to the league and at the end of the day cause managers to leave.

Sorry if this stuff is long, but I am pretty passionate about it. Thanks for the replies it is appreciated.
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Re: Trade Veto Issue

Postby murphysxm » Thu May 31, 2012 11:53 am

I don't mean to be blunt, but I think you are being short sided. You are looking at the trade only as it impacts the current year. The player that "dumped" players this year greatly improved his team for 2012, which is well with in his rights. If you aren't comfortable with that as a commish you should probably go back to a redraft format. My guess is if we polled 100 commissioners of keepers league 90%+ disagree with this trade being vetoed. I have absolutely no issue with the trade and would have been upset if I had been in a league where it was vetoed.
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Re: Trade Veto Issue

Postby flint650 » Thu May 31, 2012 12:57 pm

murphysxm wrote:I don't mean to be blunt, but I think you are being short sided. You are looking at the trade only as it impacts the current year. The player that "dumped" players this year greatly improved his team for 2012, which is well with in his rights. If you aren't comfortable with that as a commish you should probably go back to a redraft format. My guess is if we polled 100 commissioners of keepers league 90%+ disagree with this trade being vetoed. I have absolutely no issue with the trade and would have been upset if I had been in a league where it was vetoed.


I don't mind the criticism of being short sighted, but the idea that I am looking at the trade as it only impacts the current year isn't correct. I've said many times about how this trade would effect future seasons trading scenarios. My goal is to look at the overall repercussions not just the repercussions of the two teams involved in the trade.

I don't disagree at all that either team felt like they were acting in their best interests. If they weren't then there wouldn't even be a discussion because the alternative would have been both managers were cheating. So the point distilled down to one sentence is this "should the the interests of the two teams in the trade override the overall interests of the league?"

My initial reaction is no, this scenario raises multiple questions about how trades should be evaluated:

1. The timing of the trade.
a. Would this trade been offered and accepted in week 6?
2. The two teams essentially are no longer in direct competition.
a. This removes all downside to the trade for the two teams involved, and sets a precedent that when you make it to the top four you will have to trade keepers for starters to be competitive.
3. The imbalance of the trade i.e. trading 4 healthy players for 2 injured players and 1 TE
a. I fully understand that the injured keeper players have future value, but future value must be weighed against current value.
4. To evaluate any trade on a cheating only requirement is nearly impossible. How do you prove cheating happened? So by that logic why even have a trade review system at all.
5. Finally, I understand that you would be upset about the veto, but what about people who were upset about the trade? They paid their money should their opinions be limited?
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Re: Trade Veto Issue

Postby flint650 » Thu May 31, 2012 1:08 pm

One more point on the only reason to veto a trade is for cheating. What if these two managers, they are close friends, were at the bar one night when they hammered this trade out. Then after the trade was settled it was agreed to that if the next season one was in contention for money and the other was not that they do the exact same thing the following season to boost the possibility of one of them winning money. Is that cheating? If so how do I prove it? If this trade goes through what possible argument do I have the next year it happens. That you can only make those kind of trades once every three years? In that scenario no additional money or benefits changed hands, but an agreement was entered into to increase two teams competitive advantage at the disadvantage of the eight other teams.
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