Something great happened in one of my leagues recently, and I think it will make the season much more fun. We didn't change any rules, didn't adjust the scoring and didn't increase the prize pool.
The commissioner took control of the season with a simple email.
So what did he do? He sent out a note asking all owners to confirm their participation or bow out. And he did it in July, well before any preseason games and weeks before it would cause any distress to the league.
It probably took him about a minute to compose and send it, but the benefit to the league will be felt all season. Having an owner drop out of a league is normal. When you have a dozen or so adults participating in an annual activity, some degree of turnover can be expected. The problem is when those owners leave, assuming they even let you know.
Have you ever been in a league that was scrambling for an owner days before the draft? Ever been asked by a panicked commissioner to make room for one more league, which happens to draft tomorrow night? How does that normally work out? Sure, occasionally it's a perfect fit and they stay in the new league for years. But more often than not, it's a shotgun wedding that ends in a quiet separation or divorce, sometimes during the season.
The best asset you can have to battle league turnover is time. Give yourself enough time to find a good replacement, consider potential candidates and see if there's someone who's a really good fit for the existing group. An owner who's had a few weeks to get ready for a draft will be more prepared and more enthusiastic than someone who had just a few hours.
You might already be planning to check in with all the owners soon, but it's getting late. It's August, and that means just a few weeks (at best) before you select your players. If you haven't done it yet, do it today. It takes maybe a minute to compose an email and see who's still involved. You don't even have to be the commissioner. Any owner who doesn't want the headache of finding "somebody" later can find out today.
And if you get this email, please respond one way or the other. If you're leaving, I'm sure they'll be sorry to see you go. But they'll be really sorry if you wait until the last minute to tell them. And if you're in, don't keep anyone guessing. Let everyone know that they can count on you this year.
After sending the email, some owners dropped out, and that's fine. The league has plenty of time to find replacements (or carry on as a smaller group). This is the kind of league business that you can't do too early in the offseason, because circumstances change. So now is definitely the time to take care of it, and see where you stand as far as active owners.
And if necessary, don't feel badly about pushing the draft or auction back a week or so in order to find the right replacements. You don't have to draft after the first preseason game. I think it's much better to draft as late as possible anyway, but it's even more important when you're trying to find good ownership. An extra week or two can be the difference between finding some body who is willing to spend a couple hours filling out a roster, and finding somebody who will be good for the league. It's a small investment now, but it will pay dividends all year long.
How do you deal with league dropouts? Do you end up scrambling for a replacement, or do you normally have enough time to find a quality fill-in? Share your thoughts below.