7.0 LEAGUE SANCTIONS
1.0 LEAGUE STRUCTURE
1.1 League Definition
The Top Shelf Football League (TSFL) is a play-by-electronic mail Action PC Football league. The TSFL is a continuous ownership league using the Action PC football computer game. The TSFL was officially established July 29th, 2023, with the intention of being a fall-based league, with active peer-to-peer (PTP) play.
The TSFL is governed by this constitution.
Members may submit proposals for changes to the constitution to the league Commissioner. The Commissioner then distributes the proposed changes to the membership for a vote to be taken following the playoffs. A member may vote for or against a proposal, or he may abstain. Any changes to the constitution must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the non-abstaining membership, and by at least a majority of the total membership. When voting on contradicting amendments, a vote may also be cast for preference of amendment, should more than one amendment pass. Such amendments will be clearly marked in the ballot.
The Commissioner shall edit the Constitution for spelling, grammar, and overall consistency after each vote. The Commissioner shall distribute the proposed edits to the League. If any League member disputes the need for an edit, that edit will be tabled until it can be brought to a vote.
1.3 League Membership
There will be at most 28 franchises in the TSFL. Each franchise will be allowed one vote on any item brought to a vote of the membership. Members may leave the league in good standing provided that they provide adequate time for the league to find a new member to take ownership of their team.
The TSFL will allow for an unlimited number of associate members. Associate members will not be allowed to vote but will receive the league mailings. In the event of an owner leaving the league before a new member is chosen an associate member will be selected to be the interim owner of that team until a full member is chosen. An associate member will also be selected to play games for a member should a member be unavailable to play his team's games for an extended period of time.
New members will be selected from the list of associate members based on games played for league members. If there are an equal number of games played by given associates, associates will be chosen based on seniority. The League Commissioner shall ask the selected associate if the associate would like to change to full member status. If the associate does desire full membership, the associate will become a full member and assume ownership of the available team. If the selected associate does not desire full membership at this time, the next associate member will be selected, until the associate membership list is exhausted. If no associate members desire to become full members, the League Commissioner shall advertise on the Action PC mailing list and forum for new members.
1.4 League Officers
The TSFL will have the following officers: Commissioner, League President, Statistician, Mailing List Administrator, Web-Site Administrator, and a three-member Review Board.
1.4.1 Commissioner (Joseph Richardson)
The TSFL Commissioner shall serve a life term on a voluntary basis. The Commissioner can be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the league membership. A new Commissioner must then be elected by the league membership.
The duties of the Commissioner include:
- Responsibility for the TSFL schedule. This includes producing and distributing the TSFL schedule by July 1 as well as decisions regarding making up postponed games.
- Overseeing the annual free agent draft in June.
-† Overseeing the annual rookie draft in August.
- Producing and distributing the weekly TSFL newsletter.
- Distributing proposed constitution changes to the league members and overseeing voting on constitution changes.
- Serving on the review board as necessary.
1.4.2 League President (Don Merlenbach)
The league president will have such powers as given by the commissioner and will act in the commissioner's stead should he be unavailable at any time.
1.4.3 The Review Board (Eric Linder, Stanley Milton and Andy Kirkwood)
The Review Board consists of three members appointed by the TSFL Commissioner. The Review Board members serve a one-year term of office, and their terms may be renewed as needed.
The duties of the Review Board include:
- Ruling on all protests submitted by league members.
When a trade is protested the league president will convene the Review Board and help them obtain all information necessary from all parties involved (the protester and two teams making the trade). The Board will then consider all of this information and rule on whether the trade is detrimental to the good of the league or not. Trades may only be overturned for reasons of competitive imbalance or if one team has been proven to have acted outside the letter or spirit of the rules. In a case where a review member is involved in the trade under protest the league president will take his spot on the Board. If more than one member is involved the commissioner will also sit on the board so that there are always three members to make a decision. A trade can only be overturned by a unanimous decision of the review board.
1.4.4 Statistician (TBD)
The Statistician is appointed by the TSFL Commissioner and serves until removed from said position by the TSFL Commissioner. In any matters concerning rosters, the league files or game results the Statistician has power equal to the Commissioner or League President, so any request he may make of an owner should be honored as they would be if they came from the Commissioner or League President.
Duties of the Statistician include:
- Maintaining the TSFL statistics database.
- Reporting any illegal appearances by players to the Commissioner and Review Board, as well as both team owners in which the illegal event occurred.
1.4.5 Mailing List Administrator (Joseph Richardson)
The Mailing List Administrator is appointed by the TSFL Commissioner and serves until removed from said position by the TSFL Commissioner.
Duties of the Mailing List Administrator include:
- Doing what is fit to maintain TSFL mailing list.
1.4.6 Web-Site Administrator (TBD)
The Web-Site Administrator is appointed by the TSFL Commissioner and serves until removed from said position by the TSFL Commissioner.
Duties of the Web-Site Administrator include:
- Doing what is fit to maintain Web pages conducive to dispersing TSFL information.
1.5 Teams, Divisions, Cities, Stadiums, and Nicknames
The TSFL consists of at most 28 teams divided into two conferences. Each owner retains the NFL name of the team, from year to year.
Teams may switch Conferences by petitioning the Commissioner. The Commissioner will recommend to the League which teams will switch. Any realignment must be agreed upon by two-thirds of the existing teams, and unanimously by all teams actually being realigned.
1.6 League Requirements
All league members are required to purchase the most recent version of the Action PC football game and must be able to use email and a zipping program.† All members must also sign onto the league version of SLACK, which will be the official format for league communication.
2.1 Regular Season
The ISFL will play a 17 game schedule provided by the Commissioner. Opening day will be one week prior to opening day for the NFL and should finish the season right before Christmas. The playoffs will then commence the Tuesday following New Years Day. The schedule will be based on the NFL schedules for 1992-1994 when the league had 28 teams broken into divisions like the TSFL currently is, along with 1 additional game being hosted by either the NFC or AFC team, in alternating years. There will be a bye week for each team built into the schedule as well, during the week of Thanksgiving.
The league will strictly enforce late contacts with home teams being required to email/Slack message their opponent and CC the league president by Tuesday of each week during the regular season and visiting teams being required to respond to their opponent and the league president no later than Wednesday of each week. Teams who are late, get a warning the first time, lose a 5th round pick the second time, a 4th round pick the third time, a 3rd round pick the fourth time (lost picks are cumulative) and if there is a fifth time (that's a third of your games) you will lose your team.† NOTE: AT THE DISCRETION OF THE COMMISSIONER, THESE PENALTIES CAN BE WAIVED; THE KEY WILL BE 1) COMMUNICATION OF EVENTS THAT ARE BEYOND YOUR CONTROL AND 2) CONSIDERATION OF YOUR FELLOW OWNERS.† THESE PENALTIES WILL ALSO BE WAIVED IF THE TEAM IS SUBSEQUENTLY ASSUMED BY A DIFFERENT OWNER.
1. If you sub 1 time during the season you get an extra pick at end of round 5
2. If you sub 3 times during the season you get an extra pick at the end of round 4; no 5th rd pick.
3. If you sub 5 or more times during the season you would get an extra pick at the end of round 3; no 4th rd pick.
ALL EMAILS/SLACK MESSAGES THAT INVOLVES SETTING UP A GAME EACH WEEK MUST BE CCed TO BOTH THE COMMISSIONER AND THE LEAGUE PRESIDENT TO AVOID ANY MISUNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT WHO CONTACTED WHO AND WHEN.
The TSFL week will be as follows:
Face-to-face (FTF) play is encouraged and all efforts should be made to play games in this way. Teams are not required to send their opponent a computer coach for FTF games, though it can make it easier to have your platoons ready for the game.
Any and all tiebreakers required to determine order of finish at the end of the TSFL season will be determined in the same manner as the NFL.
2.2 Post Season Schedule
The ISFL playoffs will consist of 7 teams in each conference, 3 division winners and 4 wildcard teams that are the next 4 best teams by record regardless of division. The top division winner will get a bye in the wildcard round of the playoffs and the other two division winners will always have a home game in that round. There will be an off-week between the Championship games and the Super Bowl to allow for injuries and fatigue to heal up. The Super Bowl site each year will be determined by the NFL's Super Bowl site for the prior NFL season.
3.0 ROSTERS AND ELIGIBILITY
All position players rated by Action PC football are eligible for TSFL active rosters. Also, teams may keep uncarded players on their roster but must use a roster spot (Active or Reserve List) to do so.
3.2.1 Active Roster
Each team is limited to an active roster of 52 players and must have one backup at each position at a minimum. The exceptions to this rule are the special teams positions of punter, place kicker, long snapper and holder, of which you must have at least one of each.† Teams will be limited to a total salary of $121 Million, per the values shown by the current version of the Action PC game as currently released.
There is a minimum usage requirement for skill positions as follows for pass attempts, rushing attempts and pass catches for each team:
Pass Attempts - 340 minimum per team (includes anyone with a pass attempt) but no more than 800 per teamís active roster, and no more than 3 active QBís on any given roster
3.2.3 Reserve List
Each team may carry a Reserve List squad of up to 3 players. To be eligible for the Reserve List a player must have played 5 or less games in the past NFL season. Players on the Reserve List do not count against the 49 man active roster. Once placed on the Reserve List a player must stay on there for the entire season and is not eligible to play in any games during that season or the playoffs. Players on the Reserve List must be designated by the preseason cut deadline and once a player is placed on the Reserve List the owner can not change his mind. Players on the Reserve List can be traded but MUST go on the Reserve List of the team that is gaining that player and the team receiving him must have an open slot for him (ie 2 or less players on their Reserve List or trading one Reserve List player for another).
3.2.4 Uncarded Players
Any eligible player who does not have a rating for the current season may be kept on the Active Roster or Reserve List indefinitely.† UNCARDED PLAYERS ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE FREE AGENT DRAFT HOWEVER.
3.3 Roster Moves
All roster moves during the regular season must be made before week 8. Roster moves made during the off season may be made after the rosters are cut down to 45 players, on or about May 15th.† NO TRADES CAN BE MADE BY A TEAM UNTIL THEY ARE COMPLIANCE WITH THE MANDATORY COUNTDOWNS TO AT LEAST 45 PLAYERS, AND UNLESS THEY ARE UNDER THE SALARY CAP.
Trades may be made from May 1st of each year (or such a time thereafter that the commissioner is able to disseminate the new ratings to the league) until the deadline for week 8.
All owners involved in a trade must notify the Commissioner of the trade via the game report during the regular season and via electronic mail/Slack during the off season.
Any league member may protest a trade between two teams based on fairness of compensation in the trade. To protest a trade, a league member must send to the Commissioner, Review Board, and the teams involved in the trade an explanation of why the league member feels the trade was unfair. Protests must be filed by 10:59 p.m. EST (11:59 p.m. EDT) on the Friday following the Tuesday that the TSFL Newsletter reports the trade being protested. The Review Board shall request information from the teams involved in the trade as necessary. A unanimous vote on the protest by the Review Board voids the trade. All regular season trade protests must be filed within 24 hours of the current newsletter being released. During the offseason all protests must be filed within 4 days of the trade being confirmed through the mailing list. Once a trade is under protest, all assets involved are frozen until the review board makes their decision.
All trades are final, pending protests, and all player compensation shall change hands at the time of the trade. Draft choice compensation may be conditional, and future considerations are allowed, but conditions of the future considerations must be announced at the time of the trade.
Owners may trade rookie draft picks in rounds 1 through 5 for the current season. The next seasons picks will not be tradeable until the 1 week prior of the current yearís rookie draft (example - from the end of the 2023 draft until 1 week prior to the 2024 draft, only 2023 draft picks are tradeable, 2024 draft picks will be tradeable 1 week prior to the 2023 draft)
3.3.2 New Owner Trading and Draft Picks
All trades from new owners will be reviewed by the league review board for one calendar year from the date that they join the league.
3.3.3 Setting of Players to N/A
Players will NOT be allowed to be set to N/A by owners during the season until they have either clinched a playoff spot or in weeks 16-18, whichever comes first, so that injuries will work as they are supposed to and teams will not be able to circumvent them, sitting players against teams they want to rather than letting injuries determine when players will miss games. Injuries are meant to make the game more difficult and realistic so teams need to make smart roster decisions, draft picks and trades and anything that allows a team to circumvent them is against the spirit of the game.† TEAMS FOUND TO VIOLATE THIS RULE MAY BE SUBJECT TO LOSS OF DRAFT PICKS AND OR REMOVAL FROM THE LEAGUE.
4.0 FREE AGENCY AND THE FREE AGENT DRAFT
4.1 Definition of a Free Agent
A free agent is a player rated in the newest version of the game who is not on the Active Roster or Reserve List of any team in the league.
4.2 Free Agent Draft
The TSFL shall hold a free agent draft supervised by the Commissioner after each season.
4.2.1 Draft Format
There will be a 7 round Free Agent draft held on or about June 1st each season.† By May 15th, all teams will be required to cut down to at least 45 players; rosters will initially include those 52 players from the previous yearís roster, players previously placed on the reserve list for the preceding season, and the rookies picked the previous fall, and will not include players designated to be added to the upcoming reserved list.† Teams may cut down below 45 if they so choose.† Prior to trading, all teams must be in compliance with the current listed Salary Cap (currently $121 million).† The picks in the Free agent draft are not tradeable, and the order will be determined by the file after cut downs but prior to trading commencing in reverse order of salaries (ieÖthe team with the lowest team salary will pick 1st, all the way to where the team with the highest team salary picks last). AT NO TIME MAY A TEAM GO ABOVE THAT SEASONíS SALARY CAP; IF A TEAM CAN NOT SELECT A PLAYER WITHOUT GOING OVER THE CAP WHILE ALSO BEING ABLE TO REACH THE REQUIRED 52 PLAYER ROSTER, WILL HAVE THAT TEAMíS HIGHEST SALARIED PLAYER CUT IN ORDER TO FACILITATE LEAGUE REQUIREMENTS! For those teams that cut down to below 45 players, there will be a supplemental draft held on day 8, where it will be done by the same order as the Free Agent draft, with the team with the highest pick(s) selecting all the needed players to fill their 52 man roster (ieÖif there are 10 teams that donít have 52 players by the end of the 7 round Free Agent draft, the team with the highest FA draft selection will select ALL the players they need to fill out their roster, followed by the next team etc; the team with the lowest FA draft position will pick after all the other teams have filled out their roster).† Players may be cut/traded once trading commences after May 15th, until the date/time trading will be suspended for the FA draft (approximately 2 weeks).† AT NO TIME MAY A TEAM GO OVER THE CAP AFTER CUTDOWNS; EVERY EFFORT WILL BE MADE BY THE COMMISSIONER TO KEEP TRACK OF COMPLIANCE, BUT IT IS ULTIMATELY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH TEAM OWNER TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE ADEQUATE CAP SPACE AVAILABLE TO BRING THEIR ROSTERS TO 52 PLAYERS!
On or about May 20th the league president shall post a schedule for the entire Free Agent draft. Teams will make 28 picks per day between 11 am and 6 pm with a 15 minute limit. Anyone who is skipped needs to make up their pick before drafting begins the next day at 10 am.
REMINDER: Before the draft, all teams are required to cut to 45 players or less, and then will have to draft back to 52 players.† At no time will a team be able to go above 52 active players, with a max of 3 reserve players having played 5 or fewer games, nor will teams be allowed to exceed the $121 million salary cap.
4.3 Signing Free Agents during the Season
There will be no injury replacements during the season; it is the responsibility of every owner to make sure they have a roster that can accommodate expected injuries.† With that in mind, these are the following position requirements:
Quarterbacks: All teams must have a minimum of 2 QBís but no more than 3 QBís on their active roster (does not include QBís on the Reserve list)
Running backs: All teams must have a minimum of 3 RBís
HB/TEís: All teams must have a minimum of 3
Wide Receivers: All teams must have a minimum of 5
Offensive Line: All teams must have a minimum of 8 offensive linemen (2 centers, 3 guards and 3 tackles)
Defensive linemen: All teams must have a minimum of 3 DTís and 3 DEís
Linebackers: All teams must have at least 2 ILBís and 4 OLBís
Defensive Backs: All teams must have at least 8 defensive backs, with at least 4 CBís and 3 Sís
Kickers and Punters: All teams must have at least 1 kicker and 1 punter.† No team can have more than 2 kickers or more than 2 punters. No team can have 2 kickers or 2 punters on their roster with a durability rating of 10. However, if a team has 1 K or 1 P rated with a 10 durability and a second player who is rated as both a punter and a kicker (P/K) that player may have a durability rating of 10 as long as there is not a third player on the roster rated as a P, K , or P/K.
All teams must also have a designated long-snapper, who can also serve as the backup Center.
4.4 THE ROOKIE DRAFT
4.5† Definition of an Eligible Rookie
Any player that was drafted in the previous NFL draft is eligible to be drafted; undrafted rookies are not eligible to be drafted in the rookie draft.
4.6† The Rookie Draft
The Rookie draft will take place on or about the first week of August, consisting of 5 rounds (with supplemental picks as noted previously) with the draft order being in reverse order of record from the previous season.† Rookie draft picks can be traded for the current season, with picks for the following season allowed to be traded 1 week prior to the draft (THESE FUTURE PICKS FOR THE FOLLOWING SEASON CAN ONLY BE TRADED FOR OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE PICKS, UNTIL AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THE CURRENT ROOKIE DRAFT).† Rookie draft picks may be traded until 24 hours before the commencement of the rookie draft; at that time, trading is suspended until the completion of the rookie draft.† All drafted rookies will be added to the teamís roster upon the release of the new game disk release (usually late April).† No team may trade a drafted rookie until after trading recommences after the Super Bowl.
5.1 Game Reports
Each member is required to send, via E-mail/Slack, a game report for their home game, consisting of:
Expanded boxscore and play-by-play in a text file
This must be sent to the TSFL mailing list/Slack. Game reports are to arrive each week by 7:00 PM Eastern time on Tuesday following the games.
Any manager may protest to the TSFL Review Board any loss which the manager feels resulted directly from negligence on the part of the opposing manager. Managers should try to settle all protests by mutual consent prior to filing a formal protest with the TSFL Review Board.
If a member elects to protest the result of a game, the member must send to the Commissioner, Conference Presidents, the Review Board members, and the home manager an explanation of the protest as well as all documentation regarding the protested game. Protests must be filed by 10:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the Monday following the Tuesday that the TSFL Newsletter reports the game being protested.
The Review Board shall then request a statement from the home manager regarding the protest. The Review Board shall then review all evidence and vote on the protest. If a Review Board member believes that negligence did occur and that there is reasonable doubt that the home team would have won the game if there had been no negligence, the member should vote in favor of upholding the protest. A unanimous vote is required to uphold the protest.
The Review Board shall issue a ruling on the protest within two weeks from the date the protest was filed.
The Review Board, upon upholding the protest, may require a game be replayed either in its entirety or from the time of the protest.
No league member may rule on a protest involving his own team. If a Review Board member is involved in a protest, he shall be replaced first by the League President and finally by the Commissioner.
7.0 LEAGUE SANCTIONS
There are very few ways to be sanctioned in our league, we have very good owners who do what they are supposed to and treat each other fairly. Unfortunately there are times when they are called for and this section will lay them out. NOTE: LIFE HAPPENS; THE INTENTION HERE IS NOT TO PENALIZE TEAMS/OWNERS FOR EVENTS THAT ARE UNAVOIDABLE, OR TO ENCOURAGE FAMILY NEGLECT, BUT RATHER TO ADDRESS OWNERS WHO DO NOT PLAY IN GOOD FAITH.† THE KEY WORDS HERE ARE ďCOMMUNICATIONĒ AND ďRESPECTĒ, AND ARE EXPECTED TO BE FOLLOWED.
7.1 LATE COMPUTER COACH OR NON-CONTACT ABOUT GAMES
The league will strictly enforce late contacts with home teams being required to email their opponent and CC the league president by Thursday of each week during the regular season and visiting teams being required to respond to their opponent and the league president no later than Friday of each week. Teams who are late, get a warning the first time, lose a 5th round pick the second time, a 4th round pick the third time, a 3rd round pick the fourth time (lost picks are cumulative) and if there is a fifth time (that's a third of your games) you will lose your team.
7.3 UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
This is one thing that will not be tolerated. It's not really possible to legislate against running up the score, games do get out of hand sometimes no matter how hard the winning team tries to keep the score down. All we ask is that when you feel you have a game in hand (ie up 4 TDs or more in the 2nd half) please refrain from throwing bombs or using tons of blitzes on defense. This is just fair play and you will be rewarded someday for it :O) On the flip side, if you're the team on the losing end, be a good sport and don't berate the other coach over the chat link, that is equally bad form and won't be tolerated. We are trying to have fun here and it can be done if both sides do their part. Now, with that all said, if I continually get email about a certain person running up the scores or about a person being a poor loser I'm going to have a talk with you and we'll find out what is going on and I will be sure that the complaints stop one way or another. This same thing goes for any other contacts involving players, trades or drafting speed. There are two people in charge of the league, the commissioner and the president and if someone needs talking to they are the ONLY ones who will do so.
8.0 PLAYING RULES
All rules of football and the Action PC computer football game will apply except where noted below.
8.1 HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Home Field Advantage will be used in all head to head games except for the Super Bowl which will be played on a neutral field.
Home Field Advantage will be set to 3 for all games for the entire season except the Super Bowl which will be played on a neutral field.
8.2 BYE WEEKS AND REST
For our leagues purposes all injuries will be treated as per week, which means a player will heal 1 game for each week he doesn't play including bye weeks.
8.3 SEASON USAGE LIMITS
Season usage will be as follows:
8.4 PLAYOFF GAME USAGE LIMITS
These post season settings will not affect multi game injuries in anyway and regular season injuries will still carry over as necessary.
Single game playoff usage will be as follows:
DE DEMARCUS LAWRENCE
TE MARK ANDREWS
WR COOPER KUPP
WR ODELL BECKHAM, JR
COACH SCOTT MAY
LB CHANDLER JONES
QB JOE BURROW
RB DAVID MONTGOMERY
LB CHANDLER JONES
DL QUINNEN WILLIAMS
WR DEEBO SAMUEL
RB DALVIN COOK
CB TREVON DIGGS
CB PAT SURTAIN II
LB BRADLEY CHUBB
RB SAQUAN BARKLEY