Why The New Team Roster Requirements? The Real Answer…

Why The New Team Roster Requirements? The Real Answer…

We have received emails from a few Team Captains wondering what is up with the New Team Minimum Roster Requirements. Such as this one:

We have a consistent 6 (4 guys and 2 girls). Are you saying that I have to have a 7th or we can’t complete the registration? I’m not keen on adding any more to the team.

Here is a rough transcript of the response given to this inquiry in hopes that it answers the questions that others have about the new policy starting this season:


Note: New Team Roster Requirements can be found under the new League Resources Menu dropdown located on the main menu of every page by clicking on: Sports At A Glance.


[Some of the info from this response has been changed or deleted to protect the privacy of the sender]

Dear Beloved Captain,

I get it. So here is the conundrum. And I have thought a lot about it…

The policies we are putting in place are for the benefit of every team in the league. We knew going into it that there would be teams that were a little surprised and may not be super keen on the minimum requirements, just as you have stated. And we get it. It is not teams like yours that we are protecting against. It is the teams that have a tentative 6 at best each week and end up forfeiting half the time because only 3 show up.

If you think about it this really is no financial benefit to us. The Team Fee is the Team Fee whether you have 6 players or even 10 players (which is the team maximum for Volleyball). This is not about DSL boosting revenue. This is an operational decision on behalf of all members of the league.

Where DSL sees the benefit is in being confident that teams are not showing up short players or constantly “borrowing” subs from other teams. The sub policy is in place for the occasional sub in a pinch, not a long term safety net for teams that only want to run with as few players as possible. (Not at all an accusation directed at you and your team…just a generalization of things that have been going on around the leagues that we needed to address).

It’s about the ability to ensure a quality experience for every team. If we make policies that are for the exceptions to the rule rather than the norm we are setting ourselves and the league up for issues like multiple forfeits and mid season team cancellations that lead to multiple mid season schedule changes that ultimately frustrate and confuse everyone.

The policies we are implementing are in place for a reason and are based on years of experience. In May it will be 10 years that DSL has been running social sports leagues in Delaware. I am one of the 13 elected national board members of the Sport & Social Industry Association. We have the combined experience of servicing literally millions of participants over the years. The knowledge share that I have had the pleasure of giving and receiving at that level helps me understand that we have to make decisions that are ubiquitously beneficial for all teams. Even if they are unpopular with some. In other words we have to put League First.

The problem with making exceptions is that we are then essentially resorting back to the days when DSL did not follow up on or enforce the policies that we have set in place. Making it not much of a policy at all. When we make exceptions for certain teams their opponents then wonder why the rules apply to them but not to the team they are playing this week. That practice ends now. It was never one I supported to begin with and with me back in charge of day to day we are going to enforce the policies for the benefit of you, your teammates, and everyone in the league.

We like to think that one or two extra players on a team would not be the difference between teams playing and not playing. I certainly hope that although maybe not ideal in your mind, this would not cause you to cancel your team. If it comes down to adding Free Agents, we can help you with that. Think back to a couple of seasons ago when you picked up [2 Free Agents now regular team members]. Or in 2013 when you yourself were a Free Agent just looking for a team. That worked out pretty well right?

We can do the same thing again for someone else and you have the chance to return the favor and be that welcome face for someone new to the area or new to DSL. If you are really lucky maybe you end up with another couple of people that become part of your friend network. People that could eventually ad value to your life. Thats who we are. That’s what DSL is all about.

Never again will I allow a departure from the principles and spirit upon which I built DSL. Never again will I ignore my experience and knowledge of industry best practices because I am afraid of upsetting a few of our teams that have been in the league for a while and are not used to DSL enforcing our rules. (No offense…again just another broad statement)

This is about correcting bad policies and bad habits that we have gotten into over the years. This is about giving us the bandwidth to implement new innovations and create new programs for DSL’ers to enjoy by virtue of having more time to do so. Because we are spending less time managing forfeits, team cancellations, making schedule changes that frustrate everyone, or spending the better part of the season chasing teams around to get players registered and/or meet the Team Fees that every other team was supposedly required to satisfy before the start of the season. That’s just sloppy League Organization and not at all the level at which I set the bar for my league.

You and your teammates deserve better! [That goes for everyone reading this post]

What may seem like an inconvenience or undesirable decision now I can almost promise you will experience its benefit at some point down the road and (hopefully) gain an appreciation for our resolve to stick to those policies today. Either when you have a player that can’t make it or have an increased confidence that your game will not end up being a forfeit because some other team that wanted to go with fewer players like you did doesn’t actually have players with the same level of commitment as yours does. Often there is no way for them to know that either. No one goes into a season expecting for their players to bail. But it happens.

I hope this does not change your decision to be a part of DSL. I hope that by spending time to share with you in detail the reasons for our decisions it is clear that I deeply care about your concerns, understand them, and am willing to acknowledge they may not be appealing at first glance. My hope is that ultimately you will see where we are coming from and will in time support what we are doing.

I am here if you feel I have not provided a satisfactory answer to your question.

Thank you so much for being part of DSL and I truly hope we see you and your team on the court in January.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Bobby D

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